Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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17. Aric Almirola

Thursday, January 25, 2018


No one ever likes to see an injury in sports—especially auto racing where an incident can end in much more than a career-ender. But in some ways, Aric Almirola’s accident in the GoBowling.com 400 turned into a good situation not only for Almirola, but also Stewart-Haas Racing, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM).

Almirola was forced to watch from the sidelines for seven race weekends as another driver climbed behind the wheel of the famed No. 43, but that gave everyone time to reflect.

Wallace ran all the oval track races during that period and it gave him a chance to audition for the ride, which was opened at the end of the year as Almirola moved to Stewart-Haas to replace Danica Patrick—who was involved in the crash that horrendous crash. NASCAR is all about interconnectivity. Wallace filled that ride and will become the first fulltime black driver at the Cup level since the 1970s when Wendell Scott privateered his famous No. 34. It was notable that a Cuban American passed over the ride to an African American, keeping diversity alive at RPM.

Almirola was just gathering momentum when the series rolled into Kansas in the middle of May. He was coming off back-to-back top-10s with a ninth at Richmond International Raceway and fourth at Talladega SuperSpeedway. The plate race was notable for another reason because it was part of a sweep of the top 10 on that track type in three starts; Almirola was forced to miss the summer Daytona race.

Talladega factored into another storyline for Almirola. When the series returned there in October, the No. 43 finished in the top five another time despite sustaining a little damage. That was not out of the ordinary, because less than a handful of cars got away unscathed and only about a dozen or so completed the distance. What made it interesting was that Kansas was next up on the calendar and many would have though Almirola would be a little nervous heading back to the track that hurt him. If he was, it didn’t show as he scored a second consecutive top-10 for the second time during the season.

In 2018, Almirola will be with an organization that has had a ton of success in recent years.

All teams in a four-car operation are not the same, however, and the No. 10 has been a disappointment considering the success of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Clint Bowyer. Many automatically assume that the poor performance was because of Patrick, but fantasy owners will want to wait and see if that is true.

Players do not need to wait, however; Almirola can be activated immediately at Daytona, given his success on plate tracks throughout his career.

2017 Victories: None
Average Finish: 18.79
Top-fives: 3 (.103)
Top-10s: 6 (.207)
Top-15s: 10 (.345)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Talladega SuperSpeedway +

12.50

17.88

17

2

4

4

5

Richmond International Raceway

14.67

16.25

12

1

4

9

17

Phoenix International Raceway

15.00

18.87

15

 

2

17

9

Kentucky Speedway

16.00

22.40

5

 

 

NA

 

Daytona International Speedway

16.00

23.23

13

2

2

4

NA

Dover Downs International

16.40

17.00

11

2

3

NA

25

Auto Club Speedway

17.00

27.20

10

 

 

19

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway

17.67

22.38

8

 

1

27

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway

18.40

19.00

11

 

1

NA

24

Texas Motor Speedway

19.33

19.79

14

 

1

18

15

Michigan International Speedway

19.80

20.18

11

 

 

NA

12

Martinsville Speedway

19.83

22.44

18

1

3

18

18

Sonoma Raceway

20.50

23.33

6

 

 

NA

 

Darlington Raceway

21.00

21.00

6

 

 

20

 

Watkins Glen International

21.33

24.57

7

 

 

21

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

21.33

28.00

9

 

 

14

 

Chicagoland Speedway

22.00

22.83

6

 

1

24

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

22.83

25.83

18

1

2

22

37

Kansas Speedway

23.33

20.75

12

 

4

38

9

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

24.00

21.33

15

1

2

24

26

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

25.33

22.17

6

 

 

13

 

Pocono Raceway

31.60

27.45

11

 

 

NA

38

Homestead - Miami Speedway

33.00

22.50

8

1

2

18

 

 

+ Top-five sweeps

18. Dillon, Austin
19. Stenhouse Jr., Ricky 
20. Menard, Paul 
21. Bayne, Trevor 
22. Dillon, Ty 
23. Buescher, Chris 
24. Allmendinger, AJ 
25. Kahne, Kasey



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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