home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 27, 2020

Aric Almirola

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Aric Almirola.
Obviously a very, very strong car. Probably not the finish that you wanted. Talk about your day at Pocono.
ARIC ALMIROLA: Yeah, before we came to Pocono, if you told me I was going to finish third, finish second in a stage, win a stage, I would have said, I'll take it, let's not even go.
After the car we had, leading all the laps that we led today, man, it was a hard one to lose. Just really proud of all of our race team, Buga and all the guys brought me a really fast car.
We opted to go and score as many stage points as we could and try to out‑point them today. It got us a couple spots short of a victory. Still had a really fast car, the Smithfield Ford Mustang. We're keeping momentum going, three top fives in a row. Really proud of everybody at Stewart‑Haas Racing.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up with questions for Aric.

Q. Was there anything you wish would have gone differently about the pit strategy? With this being a home race for your crew chief, how meaningful is it to get a good run?
ARIC ALMIROLA: It's meaningful to run good any weekend. It's hard to run top five. It's hard to run top 10. It's hard to win these races.
Yeah, I'm certainly proud of Buga. I know this is a special place for him, being so close to home. Yeah, I'm happy that we ran as well as we did, especially when you have a car that good...
The one thing that's unique about this weekend is that we get another shot tomorrow.

Q. Do you like the shorter race?
ARIC ALMIROLA: I didn't really notice, to be honest. I don't mind when they're long either. I feel like the training that I do, the physical conditioning and stuff that I do, it doesn't make a difference to me.
The race starts with a green flag and it ends with a checkered. As long as I know when it's supposed to end, that's all I care about.
I honestly did not notice that it was much shorter. I knew there was a lot of varying strategies because of the length of the stages and the length of the race.

Q. When you see Harvick ahead of you coming off of pit road like that, two tires, were you thinking it was over if it stays green? At that point did you know?
ARIC ALMIROLA: No, actually I thought we were in a really good spot, to be honest. I knew we needed more fuel than everybody else because we stayed out to score stage points and ran long on our tank of fuel.
We might as well have taken four tires. We couldn't have taken two tires and got enough fuel in it. That was the right call.
To be honest, if a caution comes out with 10 laps to go or at any point once it all cycles out, we're running third, I feel like we're in the best position to win that race. We have four fresh tires and arguably the best car.
I felt like that was a great call by Buga. It certainly gave us an opportunity to win.

Q. Your relationship with Buga, he sounds more like a cheerleader on the radio with you than kind of the contentious relationship he had with Clint over the years. You seem to fuel each other.
ARIC ALMIROLA: Yeah, it's a great relationship. We've worked really hard to build that relationship, all the way to back December when we found out we were going to be paired together. It started right then. We've talked almost every single day. We text back and forth, we communicate a lot. I think that helps.
I am just so far different than Clint. Sometimes that's all you need to kind of spark something, is a little bit change of chemistry. Buga is very passionate, very fired up, and cares deeply. I'm more even‑keeled. I'm more laid back and easygoing. I feel like we certainly offset each other and bring a great balance to our relationship.

Q. You mentioned your training before. Do you have to make any adjustments to your training when you're going into back‑to‑back Cup races?
ARIC ALMIROLA: Yeah, for me this week, honestly the last couple of weeks, I feel like I've been more in a state of recovery, just trying to feel as fresh as I possibly can when you get to the racetrack. Not trying to overdo it and run the risk of wearing myself out before I show up for the race weekend.
Again, this week, it was pretty light. A lot of calisthenics, body weight, easy riding, easy run. Nothing where I was pushing myself too hard. I was getting a workout in, I felt good, but it was more just about staying fresh.

Q. You don't often have races where you lead that many laps, have that good of a car. How tough was it to see a win slip away at the end?
ARIC ALMIROLA: Yeah, it is tough. The wins will come. I've been around this sport long enough and watched. It's hard to win these races. It's hard to run in the top five consistently. We've done it three weeks in a row. It's hard to run in the top 10 consistently.
But you see those guys like the guys that you typically see that run in the top five a lot, they consistently put themselves in the top five, then they find themselves with chances to win. That's our first goal. Our first goal is to consistently run in the top 10 or the top five, then that will put us in position to win races.
I'm proud of the cars we've been bringing to the racetrack. I'm proud of my team. I'm just happy. When we get on these rolls like this where you consistently run in the top five, it just builds so much confidence in myself, in my crew chief, in my team guys. Everybody walks around with a little more pep in their step. That just continues to build.
I think we're on a good run right now.

Q. As you move into the second half of the regular season, is the idea to distance yourself as much as possible from 17th so at the end of the regular season you can be more aggressive?
ARIC ALMIROLA: Yeah, absolutely. For me one of the things I told Buga right from the very beginning of the season is my goal is for Daytona to not matter. I want to go to Daytona and not be in a pressure situation where you got to out‑points somebody or you got to just be careful or any of those things.
My goal is to win so that Daytona won't matter and we'll be locked in the Playoffs. If we don't win, to have a big enough points gap that Daytona won't matter.

Q. You mentioned you were proud of the cars the team has been bringing. Have you done anything differently the last couple weeks or is it a matter of hitting the setup?
ARIC ALMIROLA: Yes, all of the above (laughter).
Buga and I have talked about some of the cars we had at Darlington and Charlotte. We were bouncing around between different car builds, different setups, trying different things just because of the gap that we had.
We only ran a few races to start the year, then we sat around for two months. We didn't really build that great of a notebook. When the season started back up, we were still guessing a lot, if that's the right way to put it. We were trying things.
Darlington, we had a couple good races. Then Charlotte, we were average at best. The second race was not very good at all. I feel like we just learned from those races.
Buga went to work on the cars and we're coming to the racetracks with different setups, a little bit different things. It's seemed to work. Right now the momentum seems to be going our way, whereas four or five races prior to Miami everything that could go wrong seemed like it did.

Q. There seems to be a gap between Kevin and the rest of you guys at SHR. Is that gap consistently closing?
ARIC ALMIROLA: I don't know about consistently. Him and Rodney and that whole team do an incredible job of consistently running at that level. We were able to do it today, so that was good. I'll mark that up as a success.
It was nice to be able to compete with him there, to lead with him behind me, and he got close because he was on a little bit better tires, I was able to hold him off and actually start to drive off from him a little bit. That certainly felt good. Any time you can keep Kevin Harvick behind you and actually start to drive away a little bit, it feels pretty good.
But we've got to continue to build off of this. We've got to do it consistently. That's what I'm looking forward to.
THE MODERATOR: Aric, great run today. Thank you for the time here. Good luck tomorrow.
ARIC ALMIROLA: Thank you, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297