After scoring his third NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Talladega on Saturday afternoon, Aric Almirola parlayed the momentum from the day before into Sunday’s GEICO 500 as Almirola tied his best finish of the season with a fourth-place run, matching his finish from the season opening Daytona 500.
“I thought I was right where I wanted to be,” said Almirola. “My car was really good through the middle of the pack and I didn’t want to get shuffled to the bottom. I was adamant about that, but I thought we had some pretty good runs toward the end and I thought we were gonna have a shot at it, but just getting side drafted and stuff we got stalled out. All in all it was a great day for our Fresh from Florida Ford Fusion and another Blue Oval two days in a row goes to Victory Lane.”
Almirola started the day in 22nd place, but the draft is the great equalizer and Almirola used that to his advantage, keeping his nose clean throughout the race. Although he wasn’t able to break through in the top-10 in the first or second stages, he did so when it all mattered at the end of the race.
As the laps wound down, Almirola, who has always run well at the restrictor plate tracks, drove his way right up through the field, breaking into the top-five just after the race went into overtime and hanging on to fourth over the final two laps.
Along with Sunday’s finish being his second fourth-place finish of the season, the finish is also his third straight top-five finish at a restrictor plate track, as he also finished in the top-five at Talladega last fall.
Though Almirola did leave with another top-five on the season, his No. 43 Ford failed the Laser Inspection Station in post-race inspection. Any penalties as a result of that will not be known until later in the week.