Under pressure: Almirola ready to ‘work our guts out’ to make Chase


No one has to tell Aric Almirola that the pressure is on for him to make the Chase the Sprint Cup.

With four races remaining in the regular season, Almirola enters Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 outside a spot in the Chase.

Although 16th in the points, he’s 17th in the Chase grid because Kyle Busch is now Chase eligible. Almirola is 50 points – more than a full race – behind Clint Bowyer for the final Chase transfer spot.

“Fifty points is a lot to make up in four races, but you never know what can happen,” Almirola said in a team release.

“We’ll continue making the best out of our races and see where the points fall. And, we’ll work our guts out to try and score a win to lock a spot in the Chase.”

Almirola has struggled in seven career starts at Michigan International Speedway. While he has two top-five starts, his best finish has been 17th in both 2012 and 2013. He did win a Camping World Truck race there in 2010.

On the eight intermediate track races he’s taken part in this season, Almirola has earned six top-20 finishes, including three 11th-place finishes and an average finish of 16.1.

“Our intermediate program has been pretty consistent,” Almirola said. “We have a different package this weekend compared to the June race (at MIS), so I’ll be interested in seeing how the race goes.

“It’s the same package we ran in Indy (finished 38th), so hopefully, we will be able to run up front.”

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