Stewart-Haas Racing and Aric Almirola made their partnership official Wednesday.
After being introduced to the members of the Stewart-Haas Racing shop and receiving a round of applause, Almirola and team co-owner Tony Stewart unveiled the No. 10 Smithfield Ford that will be piloted by Almirola beginning in 2018.
“I’ve known Aric since 2004 and have always been impressed with him on the race track,” Stewart said. “I’ve raced with him and seen him mature into a really good racecar driver. He can compete for wins here at Stewart-Haas Racing and help our other drivers compete for wins.
“He’s an excellent fit for this team and for Smithfield.”
The deal sees both Almirola and Smithfield join SHR after six seasons at Richard Petty Motorsports. Smithfield will sponsor the car for the full season and Billy Scott will remain the team’s crew chief.
The 33-year-old Almirola replaces the Danica Patrick. The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will be his seventh full year in the premier series. Almirola debuted with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“This is the opportunity every racer wants,” Almirola said. “Stewart-Haas Racing is an experienced organization with a lot of depth, great technical support from Ford, and staffed with racers from top to bottom. They lean on each other, challenge each other and make each other better. I’m really looking forward to being a part of that.”
In 242 career starts, Almirola has one win and 31 top-10 finishes. In 2014, Almirola earned a career-best finish in points at 16th. It was the same year he qualified for the NASCAR Playoffs.