Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 8/29/14

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 26: Aric Almirola, driver of the #51 Miccosukee Resort Toyota stands during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 26, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CONCORD, N.C. – Aric Almirola will compete in Saturday’s Sprint Showdown looking for a win to gain a spot in the headline Sprint All-Star Race. To qualify for the All-Star Race, the No. 43 Smithfield Ford team will have to finish first or second in the Sprint Showdown 40-lap qualifier race. The race will have two 20-lap segments and an optional pit stop between them. Almirola can also be voted in by the Sprint Fan Vote. Fans can go to www.nascar.com/SprintFanVote or NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile ’13, where votes count twice, until May 18. The Tampa, Fla., native has made two starts in his Sprint Cup career at Charlotte, both with Richard Petty Motorsports. He won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 last May. In the fall event, he started 17th with the Todd Parrott-led team and finished 12th. Almirola also has seven Nationwide starts at the 1.5-mile track with an average finish of 13th and two truck starts with an average finish of eighth. Parrott has success at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. As a crew chief, he tallied two wins, eight top-fives and 14 top-10s in 31 starts.  Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Driver Aric Almirola: “I’m really excited for All-Star weekend. Our team, both the 43 and 9, have been fast at Charlotte. We had an all RPM front row last spring. We tested there in January and were the fastest car, so I have a lot of confidence that we will be fast this weekend. Our mile-and-a-half program has been strong since Todd (Parrott) and I teamed up last season. Our goal is to win the Sprint Showdown and race for the win in the All-Star Race.” Comments from Smithfield Ford Fusion Crew Chief Todd Parrott: “We have been really good at mile-and-a-half tracks with the Gen-6 car. Last week, we fought hard for a 20th-place finish, but that is not where we expect our team to be. I’m thrilled that Charlotte is next on the schedule because we are good there. Our test in January went really well, and we learned a lot. Being fastest at the test was a good boost, but we need to capitalize on that and be fast this weekend.” Chassis History: The No. 43 team has prepared chassis No. 742 for the Sprint Showdown. Almirola drove the chassis at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March where he drove from a 22nd starting spot to finish 16th.
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