NASCAR America: How Aric Almirola is helping Stewart-Haas Racing

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It’s only been two races, but Aric Almirola‘s tenure with Stewart-Haas Racing is proving beneficial to the team, says NASCAR America analysts Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton.

Almirola is fresh off his first two events driving the No. 10 Ford for SHR in the Daytona 500 and Sunday’s race at Atlanta.

The 33-year-old driver, who replaced Danica Patrick, was half a lap from winning at Daytona before being wrecked and he competed in the top 10 for much of the Atlanta race.

In the first two stages Sunday, all four SHR drivers finished in the top 10.

While his three teammates finished in the top 10 for the first time since New Hampshire last July, Almirola eventually drifted to a 13th-place finish.

Kevin Harvick wound up the winner.

“The business model in a four-car team is one thing in the front office when you talk about distributing the money,” Letarte said. “Danica obviously brought money and that car was successful and it helped all four teams. But on the competition side, frankly, you don’t care about the money. You care about the lap time. Every bit of information becomes invaluable with limited practice time and that’s what these teams have over the course of the weekend. … What I heard out of Kevin Harvick was the enthusiasm of, ‘I can now look at Aric Almirola’s comments and look at their changes. I feel like I’m reading a book that may help me.’ It sounds like he wasn’t getting that from the 10 car. Now he feels like he is.”

Burton said the “entire organization” of SHR has to work to reach its full potential.

“If one team is carrying the entire company, that one team isn’t as strong as it can be,” Burton said. “They need help from everybody. If these three other teams can run well, it makes Kevin Harvick’s team better. You have to have continuity. You have to have respect.”

Watch the above video for more.

Below, hear Bowyer’s thoughts on his third-place finish.