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Aric Almirola Driver Bio

Birthdate: March 14, 1984
Hometown: Tampa, FL
First Career Cup race: March 11, 2007 (Las Vegas)
Career Cup Poles: 1
Career Cup Wins: 2
Best Cup Championship Finish: 16th – 2014

Aric Almirola has been racing since he was eight years old, starting with go-karts. After spending a few years cutting his teeth in local open-wheel modified series, Almirola became one of the original members of the Joe Gibbs Racing Driver Diversity Program in 2003. His first few years in the program saw him racing in late model events.

Almirola got his first big NASCAR start in the Truck Series in 2005 at the age of 21. He made four starts that first year and scored two top-10 finishes.

In 2006, Almirola ran a full-time season in the Truck Series for Spears Motorsports. He still maintained an association with Joe Gibbs Racing and scored three top-10 finishes that year. He also made his debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2006 and made nine starts for Joe Gibbs Racing in the series.

The following year, Almirola made his Cup Series debut driving the No. 80 for JGR at Las Vegas and the No. 01 for Dale Earnhardt Inc. for five starts. His best finish was a 26th at Phoenix International Raceway.

He also ran half of the Xfinity events that year and “scored” his first NASCAR victory at The Milwaukee Mile driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Almirola didn’t actually cross the finish line in first, though, as JGR decided to put the car’s regular driver, Denny Hamlin, back in the car mid-race. Almirola had qualified the race for Hamlin who was busy with his Cup duties. When Hamlin couldn’t make it to the track in time for the start, Almirola started the race and was running third when Hamlin replaced him. Hamlin went on to score the victory.

The incident didn’t sit well with Almirola, who requested a release from JGR the following month. He then was hired by DEI to share driving duties on the No. 8 Chevrolet with Mark Martin in the Cup Series for 2008.

Almirola competed in 12 races that year and scored one top-10 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. Almirola also led his first laps in the Cup Series, collectively three laps at Talladega and fifty-three laps at Martinsville.

In 2011, Almirola made 33 NXS starts for JR Motorsports. Although winless in 2011, he tallied seven top 5s and 18 top 10s on the way to the fourth position in the season standings.

In 2012, Almirola returned to the Cup Series – behind the wheel of the famed No. 43 at Richard Petty Motorsports. He finished 20th in points and closed the season with top 10s in two of the final four races – including fourth place at Martinsville Speedway.

For 2013, Almirola improved two spots to 18th in points with six top-10 finishes in 36 starts. His best showing was fifth place in the July race at New Hampshire. He also made one start in the Xfinity Series, finishing ninth in the March event at Phoenix International Raceway.

With a breakthrough victory in July at Daytona International Speedway and a career-best finish of 16th in the Cup Series standings, Almirola considered 2014 a success for his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team.

The Daytona win propelled Almirola into the post-season Chase, where he was the No. 12 seed among 16 title contenders. He was eliminated after the first round and finished the year with seven top 10s in his 36 starts.

Almirola also drove in two Xfinity Series events, finishing 14th at Chicagoland Speedway and 13th in Dover.

Almirola was shut out of post-season competition the next two years, missing a Chase berth by more than 200 points in 2016 – a season in which his best finish was eighth in the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Almirola was sidelined for seven races in 2017 while recovering from a back injury suffered in a crash at Kansas Speedway in May. In a winless season, his best finish was fourth in superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega.

Almirola left Richard Petty Motorsports at season’s end to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing starting with the 2018 campaign, replacing Danica Patrick in the team’s No. 10 Cup Series entry.