This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Aric Almirola pulled off a stunning upset victory Sunday in a rain-interrupted and daylight shortened visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Stewart Haas Racing driver was already in a must-win situation after a dismal season to date, and that is exactly what happened Sunday. Almirola was one of the fastest cars in the final fuel run, took the lead from Matt DiBenedetto, and stayed out front of a rapidly closing in Christopher Bell in the final laps before NASCAR ended the race early due to darkness. It was a unique set of circumstances that conspired to put the team in Victory Lane, and Almirola became the first Stewart Haas Racing driver to win this season as a result.
The drivers and teams leave New Hampshire with a two-week break before firing up the engines again for back-to-back road course races at Watkins Glen International and a first-time visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's infield circuit. Only three more races remain before the 16-driver playoff field will be finalized with a regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway. Tyler Reddick currently holds the 16th spot in the standings with a thin five-point gap to teammate Austin Dillon in 17th.
Aric Almirola – Almirola's Stewart Haas Racing team gave him one of the fastest cars on track late Sunday, which put him in position to win when NASCAR decided to end the race less than 10 laps short of its scheduled distance. Almirola entered the weekend outside of the top