Almirola finds early success - NOTES by Lugnut - - Columbia, South Carolina

NASCAR NOTES: Almirola finds early success

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"

Aric Almirola is not a name that you are accustomed to seeing at the top of the Cup Series point standings. However, after a strong 2012 finish that produced two Top 10s in the last four races, Almirola was poised to take things to a new level.

"I've been real encouraged and I was really excited this whole off-season to get going this year," said Almirola on his fast 2013 start. "I knew what we were capable of after the last 10 races of last year."

After three races, Almirola has Richard Petty's famous No. 43 solidly in 10th place in the Cup Series standings and he feels that the team chemistry is the key to their improvement.

"We have just really clicked, and our chemistry has been really strong," continued Almirola on his relationship with crew chief Todd Parrott. "We have fast race cars every week, and right from the very get go, he's understood me and I've understood him, and we just know how to get our cars where we want them throughout the weekend for the race."

Despite the early success, Almirola is keeping things real and knows that they still have some work to do before he can be a title contender.

"It would be crazy for us to think that we are a championship team at this moment," explained Almirola. "I do feel like we are on the cusp of being a consistent Top 10 team."

So with a firm grasp on reality, what does the RPM driver feel that they need to do to get to that next level?

"We've just got to keep being smart and take what the races will give us," explained the young driver. "If we have got a 10th place car, we need to finish 10th with it. We can't push too hard with it and make a mistake and finish 35th because that would be really hard for us to rebound from."

At the beginning of the season, the team sat down and set goals for themselves. The No. 1 goal was to put the No. 43 team back in victory lane. With that said, what needs to happen in order to fulfill that expectation?

"We feel like if we continue to put ourselves in position to run in the Top 10," said Almirola, "then that one day will come where things go our way and we go out and win a race. That's really what we're focused on."

Now, I'm not saying here that the No. 43 is ready to roll into victory lane in the near future, but I am saying that they are closing in on it. If they continue to improve and the stars line up, it could happen.

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