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Almirola makes most of Nationwide opportunities

Aric Almirola opened this season driving Earnhardt Ganassi Racing's #8 in the first seven Sprint Cup races before a lack of sponsorship forced the team to park the car.

Almirola was idle for two months before getting back on track in the Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series, where he'll make his second start of 2009 in Saturday's Kroger 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

“Everybody knew after the Texas Cup race I was looking for something to race,” Almirola said. “I really wanted to be in a car, and I was fortunate enough to get a call from Curtis Key. He had an opportunity for me to run some races. I went over there and looked at his cars and agreed to do it.”

Almirola finished eleventh at Milwaukee in his previous Nationwide start in Key's #40 Chevrolet. Scott Wimmer is the team's regular driver, and he's in the #5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at ORP.

“We're bringing the same car we had at Milwaukee to ORP, and I think we'll have a good car,” Almirola said.

Almirola says ORP's 0.686-mile track is his favourite, and it's also a place where he has experience with four starts, two in the truck series and two in Nationwide. Almirola finished sixth in the Nationwide race in 2007.

“I don't know what it is or why, but when I show up at the racetrack there, I feel like I know what I want and need in the car or truck,” Almirola said. “I have a really good feel for the racetrack. It's a lot of fun to race on. You can pass, you can run two, even three-wide. I don't feel like you can get bottled up behind anyone.

“It's a racer's race-track, a little bullring, flat-out, side-by-side racing. It's unlike any other racetrack that we go to on the NASCAR circuit.”

Almirola will drive for Billy Ballew Motorsports in Friday's truck race at ORP. He has had four starts for Ballew this year and has finished fourth and fifth in the past two races.

“Between the truck and the Nationwide car, we've got a great shot to run well and if things go our way, we might end up in victory lane,” Almirola said.




Related Pictures

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Aric Almirola [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 7, 2015 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, places the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a ninth place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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