CONCORD, N.C. – Aric Almirola will head to Ford’s home track, Michigan International Speedway, this Father’s Day weekend with the colors of Eckrich and its partner Operation Homefront on the No. 43 Ford.
Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, will return for its second of six races this season. Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit which supports the needs of America’s military families, will also have its colors featured on the RPM Ford. Together, Eckrich and Operation Homefront, have a surprise for some very special guests with details to be announced at a press conference featuring Almirola and Richard Petty on Saturday, June 15 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Almirola has six starts at the Michigan track over all three NASCAR premier series. He and crew chief Todd Parrott are no strangers to Victory Lane at the two-mile oval. Almirola won the truck series race in 2010, while Parrott has three Cup series wins there. Parrott knows how to get around the Michigan track. In his 29 starts as a crew chief, he has an average finish of 12.8 and 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.
Comments from Eckrich Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola: “Although we ran pretty well at Fontana, Michigan is going to be completely different. With the new pavement, it is really fast. We saw what Marcos did last year sitting on the pole with one of the fastest laps on a non-plate track in decades. I think we will have a good package for Michigan. Everyone has a little extra pressure to run good with the manufacturer bases being there, so hopefully, we will have a good weekend for Ford.
“We also have Eckrich and Operation Homefront returning this weekend. They have some cool things planned in time for Father’s Day as part of ‘Operation Inspiration’, a campaign designed to honor, thank and support the military families who inspire us. More details will be announced on Saturday but I’m really excited and honored to be a part of it and am looking forward to a good weekend at Michigan with them.”
Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott: “Michigan is one of the fastest tracks we run on, and I believe we will be fast there. This team set the track record with Marcos Ambrose last year, so they know how to be fast. The Eckrich Ford will have to turn well in the center of the corners and need to have good drive off the turns to be successful. The track is wide, which typically allows for a lot of two and three-wide racing in the corners. It will be interesting to see if that is still the case with the Gen-6 cars. It’s a very important track being located in Ford’s backyard. Teams and manufacturers take a lot of pride in success at this track, so we are going to do our best to bring a fast, good-handling racecar this weekend.”
Chassis History: The No. 43 team has prepared chassis No. 843 for Michigan. Most recently, Almirola drove this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this season.