Almirola earns third top five of season in Dover race

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Though he didn’t qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, that’s not keeping Aric Almirola or his No. 43 team from being competitive and earning career marks.

In Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover, the Richard Petty Motorsports driver was the highest placing non-Chase driver, finishing fifth. It was Almirola’s second top-five finish at Dover this year (he also placed fifth in the spring race). The No. 43 had rolled off the starting grid 18th.

“That was a good run for us. I’m really proud of the guys,” Almirola said afterward. “It was a really good job. We just struggled with getting the car in the race track most of the day and right there at the end four tires paid off for us.”

Those four tires came on a pit stop during a caution on Lap 371. When the race restarted, Almirola was 11th. Ten laps later, he moved into fifth for the rest of the final run, which would give him a career-best three top-five finishes on the season.

“That was some really good adjustments by (crew chief ) Trent (Owens),” Almirola said. “The guys and the pit crew did a good job getting me off pit road and just a really solid day for us.”

The performance gave Almirola his second top five in four races. He finished fourth in the regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway.

Almirola now heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank Of America 500. The RPM driver has never finished better than 11th in seven career Sprint Cup races at the 1.5-mile track. He has an average finish of 19.1 there.