“We Are Doing It to Win”-Bidding Farewell to SHR, Aric Almirola Spills the Secret Behind His Alliance With Joe Gibbs Racing

Published 12/14/2023, 5:10 AM EST

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Aric Almirola may have parted ways with Tony Stewart‘s team, but he’s certainly not ready to hang up his helmet for good. Recently, Almirola was spotted alongside Joe Gibbs at an NFL game, watching the Washington Commanders take on the Miami Dolphins. It was there that Gibbs let the cat out of the bag to a colleague, saying, “Aric’s driving for us now.”

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But the real confirmation came straight from the man of the hour. Recently, Almirola himself shed light on his future plans and peeled back the curtain on the true intentions behind this new partnership. 

Aric Almirola teams up with John Hunter Nemechek for a crucial mission

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Aric Almirola is gearing up for a part-time stint with the JGR team, where he’ll be sharing the driver’s seat of the No. 20 Toyota with John Hunter Nemechek. In a candid chat with journalist Kim Coon, Almirola revealed his laser focus on clinching the owners’ championship.

He shared, “That was one of the very first topics of conversation when I sat down and met with coach and Steve D’Souza and everybody here at Joe Gibbs Racing was, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it to win.’ And to put a car together with me and John Hunter, the goal would certainly be to go win an owners championship. And so that is certainly a priority.”

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Almirola’s journey with Joe Gibbs Racing dates back to his Xfinity Series debut in 2006 and his leap into the Cup Series the following year. In 2007, he grabbed the spotlight in the Xfinity Series, notably at Milwaukee where, stepping in for a tardy Denny Hamlin, he raced to victory. This breakthrough steered him towards Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2008, where he shared the No. 8 car with Mark Martin.

Since 2012, Almirola has been a fixture in the Cup Series, racing full-time with Richard Petty Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing. Fresh off a win at Sonoma in 2023 for RSS Racing, he’s now pivoting his attention to the Xfinity Series.

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With this new chapter, Almirola has effectively shelved any thoughts of retirement, affirming that he’s still got plenty of fuel left for the sport.

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Former SHR driver has a few more laps before hanging up the helmet

Almirola has been a familiar face on the track, especially during his recent six-season stint in the Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing, steering the No. 10 Ford. He’s notched up two wins and nineteen top-five finishes, making it to the playoffs four times and even bagging a career-high fifth-place in the 2018 final standings.

After more than a decade of full-throttle racing in the Cup Series, the former SHR ace expressed his desire for a change in rhythm. “I feel like I still have a lot left to give to this sport. I just needed to slow down. When you‘re Cup racing, I felt like I was on the treadmill at like 15 miles per hour like as fast as it would go, and you are not allowed to stop it. Like you just had to keep running as fast as you could go, and I just got to the point where I felt my legs were going to give out and I was going to get spit off the back of the treadmill.”

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“Aric’s Driving for Us Now”- Joe Gibbs Lets Slip Aric Almirola’s Future Plans Leaving Tony Stewart Under Threat

While teaming up with JGR isn’t uncharted territory for Almirola, this time around, he’s shifting gears. Stepping back from the high-octane competition, he’s embracing more of a mentorship and collaborative role with the organization, marking a new chapter in his racing journey.

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Written by:

Neha Dwivedi

918Articles

One take at a time

Controversies, gossip, and breakneck speeds? Count me in! While F1 has its charm, NASCAR helps me relive those "Roadrash" gaming days. My favorite among the drivers has to be Tyler Reddick. The 23XI Racing pilot is not only likable but also a complete beast when he is on track, more specifically, road courses.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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