After more than 15 years at the top levels of stock car racing, Aric Almirola is getting set to bow out and call it a career: On Monday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Aric Almirola will retire from racing at the end of the 2022 season, which will be his last as the driver of the team's No. 10 Ford.
Almirola, a three-time race winner in NASCAR Cup Series competition, cited a desire to spend more time with his family in a team press release. The 37-year old driver from Tampa, Florida has raced in NASCAR full-time since 2006, and has been a full-time Cup driver since 2012.
"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," Almirola said. "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."
After making his way to NASCAR through a driver development deal with Joe Gibbs Racing, Almirola spent his early years in the sport piecing together opportunities before parlaying a full-time Xfinity ride with JR Motorsports into an opportunity to drive full-time in the Cup Series for Richard Petty Motorsports beginning in 2012. After six seasons driving for Petty, Almirola moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018, where he has solidified his standing as a playoff-caliber driver and respected veteran in the Cup garage.
Entering the 2022 season, Almirola has scored three career Cup Series wins to go with 26 top 5s, 84 top 10s, and three poles. Almirola picked up his first career victory in 2014, winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and breaking a 15-year winless spell for Petty's No. 43. Almirola later won at Talladega in 2018 and New Hampshire in 2021.
With Almirola stepping aside at season's end, Stewart-Haas Racing's No. 10 has already become the most lucrative open ride in NASCAR for 2023. Candidates to take over for Almirola could include Ryan Preece, who was signed by Stewart-Haas Racing as a reserve driver last week, or Stewart-Haas Racing Xfinity Series driver Riley Herbst.