Aric Almirola started Sunday’s race from the 18th position with the plan to be aggressive and run up front for sponsor Gwaltney. Settling into the low line in the early laps of the race with teammate Ambrose, he found that the draft was not revealing one clear path to the front.
An early four-car accident on Lap 17 forced Almirola to take evasive action onto the track apron and, while he avoided contact, he reported to crew chief Todd Parrott that he hit the apron banking hard. Parrott called his driver to pit road for a two-tire stop and to give the No. 43 Gwaltney Ford a quick once-over to make sure there was no damage to the splitter.
Assured his Ford Fusion was good to go, Almirola returned to the track for a Lap 21 restart in 14th. Like his teammate, the driver tried jumping into the high, middle and low lines to look for an advantage. He seemed to find his best success on the bottom, pushing his way to the second position by Lap 54.
After a routine green-flag stop on ...