Aric Almirola finished the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season 14th in the final point standings.
The Stewart-Haas Racing wasn’t able to match his previous year’s accomplishment of winning a race and nearly making it to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He had a career year in 2018 with four top-five and 17 top-10 finishes, highlighted by a victory at Talladega Superspeedway.
But Almirola did make the playoffs and put three top-five and 14 top-10 finishes on the board in 2019.
"We’re disappointed in not being able to get to Victory Lane or advance further in the playoffs," said Almirola, who had a best finish of second coming at Texas in November. "But overall we’re still proud of the effort of everyone on this No. 10 team at Stewart-Haas Racing over the past season."
However, Almirola isn’t satisfied on how things ultimately wound up this past year. Although he remains proud of what his team accomplished, Almirola wants more.
"We don’t want to be satisfied with just making the playoffs," Almirola said . "You want to make a run in the playoffs like we did last year and win races. Unfortunately we didn’t do that."
He’ll return to the SHR No. 10 Ford Mustang in 2020 but will have a new crew chief after a shuffle inside the organization. Mike Bugarewicz moves over from teammate Clint Bowyer’s ride after three seasons replacing Johnn Klausmeier, who spent the last two years working with Almirola. He’ll now be paired with Bowyer and the No. 14 team.
Klausmeier has been the No. 10 crew chief since 2018, where he and Almirola combined for 29 top-10 finishes highlighted by the Talladega win. The duo made the NASCAR playoffs in each of their two seasons together, with Almirola finishing a career-best fifth in the 2018 standings.
But the change will hopefully bring Almirola even more success in 2020.
"Our biggest asset at Stewart-Haas Racing is our people, and we strive to put each person in the best position to succeed," said Greg Zipadelli, SHR’s vice president of competition.
"Our driver/crew chief pairings for next season reflect this ideology, and we believe this lineup provides the best opportunity to win every time we unload our Ford Mustangs at the race track."
2019 Driver Season Reviews