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Aric Almirola Shows Great Speed, Finishes 2nd at Richmond

Aric Almirola

Aric Almirola takes his No. 20 Toyota for laps around Richmond Raceway during the ToyotaCare 250. ( Photo: Daniel Rankin | The Podium Finish)

RICHMOND, Va.  — Aric Almirola narrowly missed out on a flawless performance, clinching second place at Richmond.

Sometimes, the finishing position doesn’t fully convey the race’s true story. Almirola put on a remarkable display of skill in his No. 20 He Gets Us Toyota GR Supra, from qualifying within the top 10 to consistently maintaining impressive speed and adeptly managing his car throughout the race.

Aric Almirola

Aric Almirola waits around to qualify for the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway. (Photo: Daniel Rankin | The Podium Finish)

Almirola qualified his car in the 10th position to start the race. It didn’t take long to notice his car’s speed, as it gradually emerged as the dominant force to beat throughout the day. Securing victories in Stages 1 and 2 and leading the most laps, Almirola remained calm on pit road with the No. 20 team having a fantastic day aiding in maintaining the lead for the majority of the race.

Notably, the No. 20 car, alongside the race-winning No. 81 of Chandler Smith and the third-place finisher No. 19 Taylor Gray, are all fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing. Their remarkable collective performance resulted in a triumphant day for the team, securing first, second and third place finishes.

Unfortunately, Almirola couldn’t maintain his No. 20 Toyota’s lead as the laps winded down in the ToyotaCare 250. Mainly, the car became too loose and hard to handle especially as his hard-charging teammate, the No. 81, in his rearview mirror.

Eventually, Almirola surrendered the lead and settled into second place, attempting to regain the lead but ultimately ending up as the runner-up.

“We just got a little bit too loose.” Almirola recalled after the race “The run before that was stage two and my car took off and my car was really, really good. At the end, just built a little bit too tight and that last run – for whatever reason – I don’t know if it was the set of tires or what. I let Chandler (Smith) go and then when I started to just creep back to him. I didn’t have anything to go with – I was too loose in, and I couldn’t get the throttle down on exit. Hate that – to win both stages and feel like I had the dominate car and then to let it slip away there in the end is disappointing.

“But it was a fun weekend this weekend in Richmond, coming back 18 years from my first start with Coach (Joe Gibbs), with He Gets Us on the car on Easter weekend – it’s amazing to see what God has done in my life over the last 20 years since I got that call from Coach and J.D. Gibbs to come drive for them. I really wanted to put this thing in Victory Lane for them, but I’m going to have to wait.”

The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to Martinsville for the Dude Wipes 250 on Saturday Apr. 6. Catch the race at 7:30 p.m ET on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

At just 24 years old, this NASCAR fanatic has taken her passion for the sport to the next level, diving headfirst into content creation. With her sights set on the world of sports journalism, she's gearing up for her exciting debut in the field

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