(Cover Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
20th Place – Aric Almirola – 758 pts
STEWART-HAAS RACING – FORD
17.83 Average Finish in 2022 – Though he finished second-lowest in the standings of the four Stewart-Haas cars (after Cole Custer), Aric Almirola’s year wasn’t all that bad by his own standards. Of his 11 nearly full-time seasons, this was his 4th best. It was better than last year by more than 2 positions, despite having won in ’21. His best year was 2018, which also just so happened to be his first year at Stewart-Haas after a lengthy stay at with Richard Petty Motorsports.
1 Pole in 2022 – At the Bristol Night Race, despite not being in the playoffs, Aric Almirola scored his one and only pole of the season. He led 36 laps in that race (mind you, Bristol laps are pretty quick), but unfortunately was unable to complete the race due to a steering issue. He completed 418 of the 500 laps, and finished 29th.
1,515 Quality Passes in 2022 – A quality pass is a green flag pass made in the Top-15. Out of all 36 Cup Series charters, Aric Almirola scored the 16th most – slightly ahead of his 20th place points finish. That averages out to just over 42 per race, which is actually fairly impressive. He finished ahead of teammates Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe.
-122 Pass Differential in 2022 – This is not a great number for Aric Almirola. Being passed by anyone is bad, but to be passed 122 more times than you passed others (while under green) is not great at all. On the bright side, it was still an improvement from 2021, where his pass differential was -165. If that number keeps trending in the right direction, he can continue to improve, but at this point in his career, he may be set in his ways.
141 (Average) Races per Win in his Career – It sometimes is easy to forget that Aric Almirola doesn’t have many career Cup Series wins. When you think of the veterans of the sport, he is certainly in the conversation. He started his Cup Series tenure with his first race in 2007. That’s a year before Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano broke onto the Cup scene. Keselowski is a champion with 35 wins, Logano is a two-time champ with 31. And yet, Almirola has just 3. What that means is that, on average, Almirola wins 1 in every 141 races. As he nears the end of his career, he’s going to have to hope they come a little quicker than that.
Initially it was announced that 2022 would be Aric Almirola’s last year. He was going to retire at the end of the season and ride off into the sunset. However, in a strange bit of news, Almirola then changed his tune and signed a multi-year extension with Stewart-Haas and long-time sponsor Smithfield. Look for Aric to pilot the No. 10 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas in ’23.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Bubba Wallace!