Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sprint Cup notebook

Almirola shakes off rust for his best finish

Aric Almirola of Tampa was eighth in the first of his 12 races in 2008.

Aric Almirola of Tampa was eighth in the first of his 12 races in 2008.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Tampa native Aric Almirola made his first appearance of the season a memorable one in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing eighth in the car he co-drives with Mark Martin.

Almirola, who turned 24 on Friday, raced in six Cup events in 2007, with a best finish of 26th at Phoenix. He's scheduled to run about a dozen races this year when Martin isn't behind the wheel of the No.  8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

"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 2007 with Joe Gibbs Racing, but asked for his release when it became clear the team didn't have much seat time for him. He moved to Ginn Racing and was absorbed in the merger with DEI 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 … I tried 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."

SWANSONG: Dale Jarrett finished 37th in the final start in a points race of his 24-year career.

The former series champion is retiring this season, and will race one last time in the Sprint Cup All-Star race in May.

"Well, it wasn't the finish I would have liked," Jarrett said. "But I really can't be too upset when you take into consideration the kind of career I have been fortunate enough to have."

Jarrett, 51, was honored before the race. NASCAR president Mike Helton began the festivities in the driver meetings by calling Jarrett to the front of the room to present him with a commemorative collage of photos spanning his career.

"Dale, you have been great ambassador, a great person, a classic role model for many of us in this sport," Helton said.

The 42 other drivers and crew chiefs then gave Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and the 1999 Cup champion, a standing ovation.

Almirola shakes off rust for his best finish 03/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:40am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ryan Callahan: Brian Boyle will beat cancer diagnosis

    Blogs

    Ryan Callahan has been friends with Brian Boyle for a long-time, the two veterans playing together for seven years between the Rangers and the Lightning.

  2. Taylor Raddysh among first Lightning camp cuts

    Blogs

    Lightning forward prospect Taylor Raddysh was among the first cuts in camp, the team trimming its roster by six on Wednesday.

  3. Chris Archer, 25,000 Cubs fans and Tampa Bay's painful truth

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The biggest ovation inside Tropicana Field on Tuesday night was not for Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was returning for the first time since managing the Rays.

    "W" flags fly in the stands after the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. A rendering of the Bucs' indoor practice facility.
  5. Clemson reunion for Bucs' Adam Humphries, Vikings' Mackensie Alexander

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver Adam Humphries will have a familiar face lining up against him Sunday when he's in the slot and the Vikings have Mackensie Alexander guarding him as their nickel defensive back.

    Bucs wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) makes a reception before being tackled by Chicago Bears defensive back Marcus Cooper (31) Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]