By AJ Appeal
An emotional, but confident driver sat in the bleachers of his most successful track to announce what many fans had debated over the last few seasons. Tampa Florida's Aric Almirola announced in a recent youtube video (seen below) that after nearly two decades competing as a nationally sanctioned stock-car racer, he now feels that it is time to be with his family.
“I want to be present. I want to be the best husband and father, and that to me means more than being a racecar driver. So, it’s one more year where I’m all in on racing, where we’ll do whatever it takes to compete at the highest level. But when the season is over, I’ll be ready to wave goodbye. I’ve loved every minute of it, but it’s time for the next chapter of my life.”, said Almirola.
Almirola is currently entering his 5th career season with premiere organization Stewart-Haas Racing, a team where he was the only racer to win the previous 2021 campaign. Almirola has led most of his personal best statistic categories while driving for SHR. He finished a career-high fifth in points in 2018 and scored a career-best 18 top-10 finishes in 2020.It's feats like that that make him remember his roots. He continued in his video to emphasize that the start of his career he wasn't the driver...but the fan.
“I made it to the highest level of American motorsports as a professional racecar driver. It’s been amazing, with a lot of ups and downs and everything in between. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I’m ready to go back to being a fan.”
Almirola will once again drive the #10 Ford Mustang with large sponsorship anchoring from Smithfield foods in 2022. Smithfield has announced they will continue to support the program after his departure in the 2023 season.