While it wasn’t a race-winning effort like Brad Keselowski at Atlanta last month, Aric Almirola fought through a stomach illness to manage an impressive showing in Sunday’s Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Without a relief driver on standby, the Stewart-Haas Racing piloted his No. 10 Ford to a seventh-place finish.
Almirola felt “tired” and “really, really depleted” after his sixth consecutive top 10, a career-best streak.
“It was a long night last night. I didn’t sleep at all, throwing up with a stomach bug,” Almirola said. “I haven’t been able to keep anything down, so I’m just really hungry, and I’m really tired.”
Almirola joins Keselowski at Atlanta and Austin Dillon at Auto Club Speedway in notable driver performances this year despite illnesses. Dillon finished 10th for his first top 10 of the year.
While Keselowski and Dillon had relief drivers on standby, missing Sunday’s race wasn’t an option as far as Almirola was concerned.
“We don’t get to call in sick,” Almirola said. “That’s the challenging part of our job occasionally. The flu or a cold or a stomach bug pops up and you’ve got to fight through it.
“I’m really proud of everybody on our Smithfield Prime Fresh Ford Mustang. We had a good car and track position there and strategy and pit stops and stuff, and we still got out of here with a top 10, so that’s six in a row. I’m proud of that.”