Aric Almirola mett members of NASCAR media as one of less than a handful of drivers to have won at NASCAR's Cup level in 2021 representing the Ford Motor Company. He was happy to chat about his season overall, but has made it clear. From this moment forward, only the 10 playoff races matter. "The last 26 races no longer matter and now it’s about putting the best 10 weeks together that you possibly can. I relate it a lot to pro sports and football in general. You can be the wildcard team that squeaks into the playoffs and once the playoffs starts all that matters it the next week, winning the next week, and that’s how the playoffs are for us. The last 26 races do not matter anymore and all that really matters right now is Darlington and after Darlington all that will matter is Richmond and so on and so forth. So, yeah, we certainly are having that mentality.” said Almirola of his outlook on the playoffs.
He was optimistic overall about the first round of the playoffs. His past success at tracks such as Darlington and Richmond make him feel that he has a great chance to contend. " You certainly lean on your notebook, especially without practice and qualifying. You certainly lean on your notebook, so that will be important to go back and read those races and look at the speed in our cars and those things, but also feel like we’ve made our cars better since then. So, as I look forward to those races, I know that we’ll bring better race cars back than we had there earlier in the year." Proud of his year, Almirola was not interested in entertaining that the newest package of NASCAR Cup racing contains a strong element of luck. He feels the drivers and teams should be recognized for what they are accomplishing on the track. "I would say that to get to this level it takes a tremendous amount of talent and driver skill, and to win at this level takes a tremendous amount of talent and driver skill and team, so, yeah, I wouldn’t say that much of our sport really adds up to luck. You certainly need things to go your way from time to time throughout the course of a race, make sure that you’re at the right place at the right time and not the wrong place at the wrong time, but it takes a great organization, a great team, a great driver and great pit crew. It’s a total team effort. I know the driver gets a lot of credit, but I wouldn’t discredit the fact that it is very much a team effort and you don’t really just fall into a win these days. It is certainly by design and talent and making the right choices and having a good day." As he preps for another opportunity in the playoffs, he intends on racing for points, and working each of the proper packages to the 10 team's best ability. “I’ve talked about it a lot in the last couple of weeks, but I would say the 750 package. Our short track program is really strong right now, and I feel like going into this first round of the playoffs that sets up well for us, so I would say we’ve got to play to our strengths and I would say that the 750 package is certainly where we’re excelling right now.”