Almirola Eyes Chicagoland Prize
August 26, 2010 | 9:59 A.M. EST
Kyle Busch, along with crew chief Richie Wauters, reached victory lane in the inaugural NCWTS race at the track last season. Almirola will be driving the same Billy Ballew Motorsports-fielded chassis that Busch used in his winning effort and hopes to pilot it to a repeat performance.
The truck has a solid pedigree as it is the same mount Almirola raced to his second win of the 2010 season earlier this year at the Michigan International Speedway.
Almirola has averaged a seventh-place finish at the four mile-and-a-half venues that the NCWTS has visited this season. His best finish at a 1.5-mile track came at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he took the checkers in third-place. Almirola finished in eighth-place at Chicagoland last season.
"Chicago's a really cool city," said Almirola. "It has a lot of character and charm. It's one of the places that I love going to. It kept Ferris Bueller busy all day long. We've got a busy schedule at the track, but hopefully I'll have some time to go and enjoy the city."
Almirola is hoping to continue his current stellar performance at the type of tracks coming up on the schedule.
"We've got a stretch of tracks coming up that our team has done really, really well at," he said. "Chicago, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Las Vegas are all strong tracks for Billy Ballew Motorsports. We’ve won at three of those, so I've got a lot of confidence that we can tighten the points chase in the next few weeks."
The Ballew team has been exceptional at intermediate size tracks throughout its history. The organization has racked up nine wins at speedways 1.5 miles in length, six of those wins were from the No. 51 team. The No. 51 team also has scored three poles at mile-and-a-half tracks.
Almirola brings to Chicagoland Speedway a current streak of four top-10 finishes including three top-five finishes.
"Our mile-and-a-half program and two-mile program has been outstanding this year," he said. "We’ve run really well. I think we’ve been in the top-10 at just about all of the tracks. We’ve had really fast trucks and we’re feeling good going into Chicagoland."