CREW CHIEF: Trent Owens
TEAM: Richard Petty Motorsports
TOP 5s: 3
TOP 10s: 6
LAPS LED: 3
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Almirola had one additional top-five finish in 2015 (3, a single-season career high) than 2014 (2). He also had a career-high per-race average finish of 17.9. … He also had a career single-season high of 25 lead lap finishes. … Total 2015 winnings: $5,141,766.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Almirola had a year similar to 2014, but with two key differences. First, he failed to win a race in 2015 and he also fell short of qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup – both of which he did in 2014. … Race-to-race consistency continued to be a problem, as well as qualifying (average start was 22.4, his worst ever as a full-time Sprint Cup driver).
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2016: Almirola will enter his fifth full-time season as a Sprint Cup driver. … He needs to get off to a better season start than he has the last two seasons, so as to hopefully enhance his hopes of making the Chase for the second time in three years. He also has to work harder at reaching Victory Lane for the second time in his career. … Lastly, Almirola will have a new teammate in Brian Scott (replaces Sam Hornish Jr., who was not retained after just one season driving the No. 9 RPM Ford).