Aric Almirola made his first appearance of the season a memorable one, finishing eighth in the car he co-drives with Mark Martin.
Almirola raced in six Cup events last season, with a previous best finish of 26th at Phoenix. He’s scheduled to run about a dozen races this season when Martin isn’t behind the wheel of the No. 8.
“It feels awesome. To go out and knock the cobwebs off and finish eighth makes my job easy when the car runs as good as it did,” Almirola said. “I don’t want to sit on the pit box no more! It is what it is. I get to race 12 races and I’ll hopefully go get 12 top 10s.”
Almirola started last season with Joe Gibbs Racing, but asked for his release when it became clear the team didn’t have much seat time for him. He then moved to Ginn Racing, and was absorbed in the merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. that earned him split seat time with Martin.
Now, after his first start of the season, he said he’s ready to run up front.
“I’ve been telling all these guys on this crew for so long now throughout my career, whether I was at Joe Gibbs Racing or last year when I first got part of the merger, I tried to hard to run all the laps and learn as much as I could,” he said.
“I’ve got my elbows up and I’m going to go out there and race with these guys.”