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NASCAR Cup: Stewart-Haas Racing makes Aric Almirola hiring official

Aric Almirola (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Aric Almirola (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Stewart-Haas Racing made official Wednesday morning the widely-speculated move of Aric Almirola to the driver’s seat of SHR’s No. 10 Ford for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition in 2018 during a press conference at the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in Kannapolis, N.C.

“This is the opportunity every racer wants,” Almirola said. “Stewart-Haas Racing is an experienced organization with a lot of depth, great technical support from Ford, and staffed with racers from top to bottom. They lean on each other, challenge each other and make each other better. I’m really looking forward to being a part of that. I’ve known Tony Stewart since our time together at Joe Gibbs Racing. I know what he expects, and he knows my commitment. I can’t thank him and Smithfield enough for believing in me and providing this opportunity.”

Almirola will move to Stewart-Haas from Richard Petty Motorsports, where he will complete the 2017 season as driver of the No. 43 Ford. Smithfield Foods will make the move with Almirola from RPM to SHR as primary sponsor.

Almirola will be replacing Danica Patrick in the No. 10. Patrick still doesn’t have a ride for 2018, and her future in NASCAR is unknown. Meanwhile, Darrell Wallace Jr. will replace Almirola at RPM as driver of the No. 43 next season. Wallace drove the No. 43 in four races earlier this season while Almirola was sidelined by a back injury.

Almirola has been a full-time competitor in the Cup Series since 2012, all that time as driver at RPM. In all, he has 242-career starts in the series, resultin in one win, coming in 2014 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in 2014. He also has 11 top-fives and 31-career top-10s. He also raced part-time in the Cup Series between 2007 and 2010, racing for teams including Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports.

Almirola also is a three-time winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has two wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“I’ve known Aric since 2004 and have always been impressed with him on the racetrack,” Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart. “I’ve raced with him and seen him mature into a really good race car driver. He can compete for wins here at Stewart-Haas Racing and help our other drivers compete for wins. He’s an excellent fit for this team and for Smithfield.”

At SHR, Almirola will be a teammate to Clint Bowyer and 2014 Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Stewart-Haas Racing remains in negotiations to keep Kurt Busch in its driver stable.

Billy Scott will remain the crew chief of the No. 10 team in 2018.

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Posted by on November 8, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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