No Decision Yet for Almirola

AricAlmirola

"I will finish the last 10 races of the year on a high note hopefully and we will go from there. I am not going to get in the middle of any of that." (Photo: Getty Images))

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JOLIET, Ill. – Aric Almirola would not comment on what lies ahead for him after he leaves Richard Petty Motorsports at season’s end.
 
RPM announced Almirola would not return to the team’s No. 43 Ford in 2018. That decision came in the aftermath of sponsor Smithfield Foods moving to Stewart Haas Racing next season.
 
It has been speculated Almirola would move to SHR along with the Smithfield sponsorship and pilot the team’s No. 10 entry, which Danica Patrick will not return to in 2018.
 
But Friday at Chicagoland Speedway, Almirola was mum on what the specifics of his future are at this point.
 
“Gosh, I didn’t have this many microphones in my face when I won Daytona. I can’t talk about next year. You know I can’t,” he said to a group of reporters gathered in the garage area.
 
The week’s events led to a war of words between team owner Richard Petty, who accused Smithfield of breaking what he termed a “handshake deal,” while the company publicly stated it had no agreement to stay with RPM beyond the expiration of the current contract.
 
Almirola is steering clear of the disagreement.
 
“I am not really going to get in the middle of all that,” he said. “My job is to drive the race car. That is what I am going to do and I will do it to the best of my abilities like I always do. I will finish the last 10 races of the year on a high note hopefully and we will go from there. I am not going to get in the middle of any of that.
 
“I am here to drive the race car and I will continue to be a professional like I am sure everyone else is on the race team. We will finish out the year as strong as we possibly can.”
 
For now, all Almirola can do is finish out the season driving the No. 43, something he hopes will continue until the final race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
“I hope so, yeah. I fully expect to finish the year in the 43 car,” Almirola said. “I have a contract that says I will, so hopefully.”

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