The NASCAR driver is set for his final season
NASCAR driver Aric Almirola is entering his 15th year in the NASCAR Cup Series. Today, he’s announced that it will be his final full-time season.
Hear from Aric Almirola below.
Smithfield Foods has sponsored Almirola for 11 years, 5 of those have been with Stewart-Haas Racing. The company remains onboard for his final season in 2022.
The 37-year-old will run his last race on November 6th at Phoenix Raceway.
The Tampa, Florida-native notes wanting to spend more Sunday’s with family. He’s a father to two.
Aric Almirola comments on retirement
“I truly enjoy driving racecars and I’m excited to race my heart out in 2022 for Smithfield and Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Almirola.
“But to be the best in this business, you’ve got to be selfish, and for the last 37 years my life has always revolved around me and what I needed to do.”
“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.”
“Janice and I have spent many nights talking about it and the questions are the same as anyone else would have when you’re going to stop doing something. Can I afford it? The answer I kept coming up with is that I can’t afford not to. Will I regret it? I think I’ll regret it if I don’t,” Almirola said.
“At the end of this season, we’re going to have a 10-year-old in Alex and a nine-year-old in Abby, and I’m going to have a short window with them while they still think Dad is cool. I want to be there for them and to be a part of the things they’re interested in.”
“Before we know it, they’re going to have car keys and they’re going to be running off with their friends, doing the same things I did when I was 16 or 17.”
Stepping out on own terms
Almirola began his Cup career at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2007. He went on to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Phoenix Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports. He signed with SHR in 2018.
“It means a lot to be able to walk away on my own terms. It’s been a great ride. I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination and I honestly have no regrets,” Almirola said.
“Do I wish I would’ve won more races? Sure, and there’s still an opportunity this year. Do I wish I would’ve won a championship? Sure, and I’ve got a lot of drive to make that happen this year.”
“I’m a competitive person. I want to win and I want to be a champion, but at the end of the day, I know that those things mean way less than being there for my family.
Almirola added, “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.”
Tony Stewart comments
Almirola and Tony Stewart were formerly teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing. They reconnected as Stewart formed his Stewart-Haas Racing team.
“I’ve watched Aric develop into a really good racecar driver and it was a proud moment when we were able to bring him to Stewart-Haas Racing,” Stewart said.
“He’s really delivered for our race team and for Smithfield, always putting in maximum effort. I know he wants to go out on a high note and we’re going to give him all the resources to succeed.
“That being said, we also want him to enjoy this season. Aric is a great husband and father, and this year will bring a lot of cool moments that he’ll be able to share with his family. He’s earned this opportunity to go out on his terms.”
Almirola has three NASCAR Cup Series wins, most recently adding to the tally in 2021. His career best championship run came in 2018, finishing 5th in the standings.