Aric Almirola will pilot the Biagi-DenBeste No. 98 Ford Mustang in the Nationwide Series races at Chicagoland Speedway September 13 and Dover International Speedway September 27. Smithfield will adorn the No. 98 Ford Mustang for both events. As Almirola and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Sprint Cup Series team competes for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Almirola hopes the extra track time will prove beneficial for the Sprint Cup Series races at both tracks and propel the team through the first round to advance into the Contender round.
Almirola, who scored his first Sprint Cup Series win earlier this year and qualified for his first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, is no stranger to the Nationwide Series with 74 starts in the series and found success at both tracks. In his three starts at Chicagoland Speedway, he scored two fourth-place finishes. He also has three starts at Dover International Speedway where he tallied three top-15 finishes and a best finish of ninth in the Sprint Cup Series, along with a Truck Series win in 2010.
"I'm excited to return to the Nationwide Series at Chicago and Dover," said Almirola. "Our team is really focused on getting to the Contender round in The Chase, and I think running the Nationwide races for two of the three race in the first round will really help us. To have Smithfield, Medallion Financial, Opus Global and Petty's Garage step up and let us race those weekends is really special. We'll be there to learn as much as we can for the Cup races, but I also want to win. Win for the Biagi-DenBeste team and for myself. I'm just grateful for the opportunity and can't wait to compete at Chicago and Dover."
Biagi-DenBeste Racing debuted in the Nationwide Series in 2001and in 2003 began racing full-time in the series. The team has one win, captured in 2004 by Mike Wallace at Daytona International Speedway. This season the team made nine starts with a best finish of fourth scored by David Ragan.
"We're happy to have Aric come on board for two races this year," said Fred Biagi Co-Owner of Biagi-DenBeste Racing. "We've run nine races so far this year with various drivers and scored a season-best finish of fourth. We are pleased to add Aric to the list of drivers of the No. 98 this year and hope that with his experience in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series we continue the trend of Top-Five finishes."
Almirola will make his debut in the No. 98 Smithfield Ford Mustang in the Jimmy John's Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway September 13 live on ESPN2.