What Lies Ahead for Aric Almirola in 2022 After his NASCAR Cup Series Win?

Published 08/03/2021, 7:49 PM EDT
BROOKLYN, MI – JUNE 12: Aric Almirola, driver of the #51 Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota, stands on the grid during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)


With the 2021 season steadily approaching the Playoffs, some have begun to look ahead to 2022. After Aric Almirola won the Cup race at New Hampshire, there were questions about his future in NASCAR. His appointment to Stewart-Haas Racing is dependent on his sponsor, Smithfield.

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If the brand opts not to re-sign, there are drivers like Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones and Ross Chastain, who could take his place. Both Di Benedetto and Chastain are free agents, but Jones is locked in contract negotiations. Meanwhile, Austin Dillon is expected to remain at Richard Childress Racing. The same applied for Ricky Stenhouse Jr at Daugherty Racing, as long as they do not sell their charter.

Other potential moves could see Chastain head to Trackhouse Racing to bid for a second driver role. Given their association with Chip Ganassi Racing, it could be his way of wanting to remain with the organization.

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However, he will be wary of trying to sort out a deal this early, because a sponsorship can go at any time. Chastain became a victim of this in 2019 when D.C. Solar collapsed, owing to a federal investigation.

Besides Aric Almirola, how will everyone else line up?

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“We’ve talked through all the scenarios that we think are on the board,” Chastain said. “I am still under contract with CGR. I’m the driver of the 42 car, and that’s where my head is at. I’m not calling anybody, and nobody else is calling me. … I never knew this early, by far, what I’m doing.”

Jun 20, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola (10) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell (20) race during the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Kurt Busch is one of the favorites to head to 23XI Racing, if and when they expand to a second car. However, he confessed that he is open to staying with Chip Ganassi, especially after Trackhouse Racing purchased it.

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Unfortunately, it would not bode well for Chastain, especially since 23XI Racing still needs to purchase a charter and obtain sponsors. Of course the 2021 season is still ongoing, so there is plenty of time for the 2022 Cup Series grid to sort itself out.

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Dhruv George

12013 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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