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Almirola’s Retirement Opens Door For Noah Gragson In NASCAR Cup - Forbes

Author: Forbes

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregengle/2023/10/28/almirolas-retirement-opens-door-for-noah-gragson-in-nascar-cup/

Image of Almirola’s Retirement Opens Door For Noah Gragson In NASCAR Cup - Forbes

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 13: Aric Amirola speaks to the media during the Monster Energy ...[+] NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)Getty ImagesThis time it’s for real.Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola will race for the final time as a fulltime NASCAR Cup series driver at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday November 5.It’s a retirement that was supposed to happen at the end of the 2022 season.Almirola, however, was persuaded to return for another year and has been racing the No. 10 Ford this season.Now it appears that the end of the 2023 NASCAR season will be the for the last for the Tampa, Florida native.“After much prayer, consideration, and conversations with my family, I’m ready for the next adventure,” the driver posted on social media Saturday morning.Almirola has raced for 16 seasons in NASCAR’s top tier series, the last six for Stewart-Haas Racing.On 458 starts to date, Almirola has three wins the first coming at the summer race in Daytona and 2014, and the most recent at Loudon in July of 2021.“To everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing: A genuine and heartfelt THANK YOU for the last six years.Winning races and competing with all of you has been a thrill,” the statement for Almirola said.“Our opportunity together was made possible by all of our wonderful partners to which I own much gratitude because as a racecar driver without corporate sponsorship.It’s been an honor to represent the many companies and all of their employees.”Almirola was originally going to retire at the end of the 2021 season but was asked to return by his longtime sponsor Smithfield Foods. The company has been involved with Almirola since 2012, following him to Stewart-Haas Racing when he moved to the team in 2017.The company wanted Almirola to come back badly enough that they signed a multi-year extension with the team and increased their sponsorship.MORE FROM FORBESNascar's Aric Almirola Will Compete Another Full Season After Sponsors UrgingBy Greg EngleAlmirola agreed to race in 2023, but that will make this his final season.“To Smithfield: I am humbled for the opportunity to represent your company and brands.Twelve years ago you brought me into the Smithfield family and took a chance of me.I am forever indebted to the people that I’ve had the pleasure to meet and represent.My career and life wouldn’t be what it is today without your support.”In a statement on their own social media handle Smithfield congratulated Almirola on his excellent run with Stewart-Haas Racing adding “Aric has been an incredible ambassador for Smithfield over the past 12 seasons, and we have enjoyed an outstanding relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing in our six seasons together.”In 2022 Almirola said that he had started to slow down away from the track spending more time with his wife Janice, and his kids a son who will be 10 next month, and a daughter 8.MORE FROM FORBESNASCAR's Noah Gragson Could Come Back Stronger After ReinstatementBy Greg Engle“I just found a wonderful balance to where I still can be the husband that I want to be and the father that I want to be and we did some really cool stuff this year,” he said then. “I forgot just what a wonderful opportunity it is to be a race car driver.Not only do I get to do what I love to do, but we get to travel around the country and go to all sorts of different cities, so we took that opportunity this year.Beyond spending time with his family, the future is uncertain.Saturday, he made no indication beyond ending his statement with “As for the future… Proverbs 19:21” which reads “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”With the No.10 Ford becoming available for 2024, all indications point to Noah Gragson who was reinstated by NASCAR after being suspended in August after a social media post.He parted ways with Legacy Motor Club and could now end up at one of the most competitive organizations in the sport.

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