Crash ends Almirola's day early at Darlington

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Crash ends Almirola's day early at Darlington

NASCAR

Crash ends Almirola's day early at Darlington

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The rough patch for Aric Almirola continues.

Almirola and the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team completed five laps Sunday at Darlington Raceway before his car was towed to the garage. A destroyed race car, no less.

Coming off of Turn 2 on lap 6, Almirola got tight and had to lift off the throttle as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ran close behind. Stenhouse tagged Almirola and sent him spinning. A long slide off the corner and down the inside of the backstretch ended with Almirola hitting the inside wall nose first and exiting the Goodyear 400.

“We had a really fast Smithfield Ford Mustang,” Almirola told Fox Sports 1. “I was looking forward to today; our 750 stuff has been really good, the lower downforce stuff. Our high downforce 550 package, we’ve struggled, so I was looking forward to having a good day. We had to start last, had trouble getting through tech, and we were coming through the field pretty fast. We were a second faster than the next 10 or 15 cars in front of us; we were passing about a car a lap.

“I got by the 47 [Stenhouse] in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2, and he hit the wall the lap before, and he waved me by getting into (Turn) 1. I got by him, and then at the exit of Turn 2, I got a little bit tight and checked out of the throttle, and he just ran me over and wrecked me. I don’t know – it’s just how our year’s gone. It’s been a horrible year. Nothing but bad luck, and I’m ready for it to turn around.”

Almirola was the first driver out of the race and will finish 37th. It will be his fourth DNF in 12 races.

After earning a career-high in top-10 finishes last season, Almirola and his team have struggled to get out of the gate in 2021. Buried deep in the point standings (28th entering the weekend with four stage points), he has just one top-10 finish. His average finish is 23.3.

Including Sunday’s result, Almirola will have finished 29th or worse in six of 12 races.

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