By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
“When Homestead comes around if I am not in, he will know it,” said a disgruntled Aric Almirola who laid down the law towards Joey Logano.
For the second race in a row, Logano is the center of criticism from a Round of 8 competitor after Almirola voiced his displeasure of how hard he raced him in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth.
Struggling matching race winner’s and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick’s dominant pace, Almirola was in excellent position with 32 laps remaining, restarting third.
Coming down the backstretch, the Talladega winner was running side-by-side with Logano and had the slight advantage entering Turn 3. However, Almirola’s No. 10 Smithfield Spirals Ford Fusion got sideways and nearly collected Logano, losing valuable track position.
“We were a third place car and that restart there where we finally were in position we fought all day from the back and started at the tail and worked diligently all day to get up to the front and finally got ourselves in position to at least have a shot and race with those guys,” Almirola on his day prior to the restart.
“The 22 just went down in turn three and put it right on my door and about wrecked us both. I am not sure.”
As Logano finished third and already locked into the Championship 4 after last week’s win at Martinsville, Almirola wound up in eighth, but his 15th top-10 of the season was the least of his concerns after the race.
“I will have to talk to him. He just continues to make things harder on himself,” said Almirola.
“If that is the way he wants to race me when he is already locked into Homestead and we are out here fighting for our lives, that is fine.”
Going forward, Almirola will make sure he’ll make Logano’s race difficult over the rest of the field.
“I will just make it really difficult on him. He made it really difficult on me today which was really unnecessary. He could have run fourth, fifth, 11th, it doesn’t matter. He is still going to go to Homestead and race for a championship, it is just not smart.”
Logano’s response to Almirola about the incident was simply a racing deal and it was Almirola who hit him.
“I haven’t talked to him. I don’t know what is going on,” said Logano. “We were still racing at the end of the race and got hit in the left rear in thurn three.”
Logano also cited that Sunday’s tires didn’t benefit an outside groove at the 1.5-mile circuit.
“There is no outside lane in three and four,” said Logano. “The tire that Goodyear brought here doesn’t allow a second lane to really work so I was just trying to hang strong up there. It is just racing.”
Sitting in seventh and 57 markers behind the cutoff line which is held by Martin Truex, Jr, Almirola is now in a must-win situation if he wants to make it to Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot of capturing his first Cup title.
His thoughts about heading into ISM Rcaeway in Phoenix Nov. 11 was simple.
“I am fired up. Let’s go.”