KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Nov. eight, 2017) – Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Aric Almirola to hitch its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series lineup in 2018. The 33-year-old from Tampa, Florida, will drive the workforce’s No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion.
Almirola has gained races in every of NASCAR’s top-three nationwide touring collection and is at present in his sixth full season within the premier NASCAR Cup Series. Almirola has one NASCAR Cup Series victory, three NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series triumphs.
“I’ve known Aric since 2004 and have always been impressed with him on the racetrack,” stated Tony Stewart, who co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas. “I’ve raced with him and seen him mature into a really good racecar 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.”
“This is the opportunity every racer wants,” Almirola stated. “Stewart-Haas Racing is an skilled group with quite a lot of depth, nice technical help from Ford, and staffed with racers from prime to backside. They lean on one another, problem one another and make one another higher. I am actually trying ahead to being part of that.
“I’ve recognized Tony Stewart since our time collectively at Joe Gibbs Racing. I do know what he expects and he is aware of my dedication. I can not thank him and Smithfield sufficient for believing in me and offering this chance.”
“This is a superb second for Aric, and Smithfield may be very completely happy to be part of it as a result of it is an amazing alternative for our firm,” said John Pauley, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Smithfield. “Obviously, we strongly consider in Aric’s capability and that of Stewart-Haas Racing, and people skills transcend the racetrack. They need to persistently run up entrance and contend for wins, however they’re additionally very focused on serving to us win within the market. This is a robust partnership with outgoing personalities who’re pushed to succeed.”
Almirola’s path to NASCAR began in his house state of Florida, starting in karting in 1992 earlier than advancing to open-wheel modifieds in 2000 after which late-model inventory vehicles in 2002. In late 2003 at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Almirola participated in a driver mix for Joe Gibbs Racing and was in the end chosen as one of many first two drivers for Gibbs’ range program, which launched in 2004. Almirola grew to become a teammate of Stewart’s, who was in his sixth yr as a NASCAR Cup Series driver and solely two years faraway from the primary of his three NASCAR Cup Series championships.
Nine wins and 11 poles throughout the 2004-2005 seasons of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series allowed Almirola to advance from native quick tracks within the southeast to a fulltime, nationwide schedule within the Camping World Truck Series in 2006. A handful of Xfinity Series begins additionally got here in 2006, and Almirola’s NASCAR Cup Series debut came about on March 11, 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, three days shy of his 23rd birthday.