NASCAR AMERICA: Almirola, No. 43 Petty team focused on winning, making Chase again (VIDEO)

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Aric Almirola and his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team made their breakthrough last July at Daytona.

Their Coke Zero 400 victory propelled them into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. And as 2015 looms, they have bigger goals now.

During his co-host role in today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA, Almirola talked about those aspirations and also discussed how competing in the Chase caused them all to recognize that they had to raise their game.

“Everybody really understands now at RPM what level of excellence is expected out of them throughout the season, especially when you get to those last 10 races,” he said today.

“It’s amazing how much the level of competition actually increases when you get to Chicago to start the Chase. Now we have a better understanding of how tough we’ve got it [then], and how hard we’ve gotta work.”

Almirola’s win was the first for the famous Petty No. 43 car since John Andretti took the checkered flag at Martinsville in 1999. Almirola wants to ensure that it won’t take as long for the next one to occur.

“I don’t want somebody else 15 years from now talking about trying to get the 43 car back to Victory Lane,” he said.

For more on how Almirola and RPM have been preparing for the new season, check out the clip at the top.

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold