Aric Almirola and Stewart-Haas Racing have confirmed a contract extension that keeps Almirola with the company through next season.
Almirola was one of two SHR drivers in a contract year. Smithfield, Almirola’s long-time sponsor, will also return to the No. 10 Ford Mustang team. Almirola noted on Twitter about his new deal that he and Smithfield will mark 10 years working together next season.
Almirola – and Smithfield – joined Stewart-Haas in 2018, and the Florida native won the fall Talladega race that year. It was his second career win in the NASCAR Cup Series, and he went on to finish a career-best fifth in the championship standings.
Almirola has made the playoffs each season with Stewart-Haas.
“They’ve done a really good job, him and Mike [Bugarewicz], of growing together as a team and figuring out what (Aric) likes,” said vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli this week. “Buga has done a great job at that, but it’s time to go. They’ve been picking up and building their confidence, and I feel like they’re ready; they just have to go out and execute (in the playoffs).
“When you go back through, and you look at the top fives and top 10s he’s had all year, I don’t know if a single one of them was just a good, clean race. They’ve had issues: Pit crews, restarts, speeding on pit road – things of that nature that have made him go to the back and have to race to the front.
“If we can clean all of those things up and not make any mistakes, I think he’ll have a good opportunity.”
Clint Bowyer, who also qualified for the playoffs without winning a race in 2020, is the other driver in a contract year with SHR.