Almirola announces NASCAR retirement
By Alex Wood
Sunday 29th October, 2023 - 4:42am
Three-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Aric Almirola will hang up his helmet following the 2023 season citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
He had originally announced plans to retire following 2022 but was convinced to carry on for another year.
Almirola first broke onto the scene as a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, running part-time in both the Xfinity and Cup Series in 2007, but left to pursue a career with the now-defunct Dale Earnhardt Inc.
When the team merged with Chip Ganassi Racing, Almirola lost his ride.
After 2009, he completed a part-time Cup programme alongside a full-time Xfinity Series ride before landing at Richard Petty Motorsports driving the famed #43 from 2012-2017.
He scored one win in the 2014 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, but his final season in the 43 would be plagued with a back injury that prompted him to miss seven races.
He moved to the Stewart-Haas Racing, replacing Danica Patrick, in 2018. In his first season with the team, he scored a win and made it to the penultimate round of the Playoffs.
Almirola’s final win came at New Hampshire in 2021 before a promising 2022 season.
This year has been less straightforward with only three top-10 finishes, including this past weekend a Homestead.
Almirola does have an Xfinity Series win this year, at Sonoma in June with Ryan Sieg Racing, his fourth Xfinity Series success.
SHR has made no announcement on who will replace Almirola.
Its contract with Ford states it must field four cars to receive factory support, with commercial backing for the car also unclear.
Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson, who was recently reinstated by NASCAR after his suspension in August, has been linked with a move into the drive.