Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola spoke with the national media Tuesday during the NASCAR Next Gen Test session at Daytona, less than a week after announcing he will be leaving fulltime racing at the end of the 2022 season. He emphasized again that was “fulltime” racing and said he would still be open to doing some one-off races should the right situation present itself in the future.
Almirola, 38, of Tampa, Fla. said the impetus of his decision really came down to his desire to spend more time with his children. His nine-year-old daughter Abby rides horses and likes to perform on stage and his 10-year-old son, Alex, is into team sports like baseball – a sport Almirola excelled in before focusing on his racing career.
“I couldn’t keep going week-in and week-out, chasing my dreams and watching them through Facetime,” Almirola said. “I felt super guilty.”
“There’s a short time before they have car keys and are asking what their curfew was,” he added. “And that weighted into my decision more than anything.”
Almirola, a three-race winner in 10 fulltime NASCAR Cup Series seasons, said he told the SHR team and his longtime sponsor, Smithfield, of his decision during the holidays. And he’s hoping having it out a full season ahead of his move, will allow him to “get his ducks in a row” and possibly chart his course going forward.
“I do have interest in still being involved [in racing],” Almirola said, adding, “I really don’t have an answer to what’s next.”
“I don’t have a ‘Plan B,’ never have and don’t know what that looks like.”
Many drivers find their second act in television broadcasting and Almirola has garnered positive reviews for his work in the booth during NASCAR telecasts. He said that’s very much on the table and said he was committed to remaining in racing in some form.
“I’m just ready to be a little bit more normal,” he said smiling. “I’m ready to be home with my family.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!