News Analysis: Aric Almirola to drive No. 10 car at Stewart-Haas Racing

What happened: Stewart-Haas Racing announced Aric Almirola will replace Danica Patrick in the No. 10 car next season with backing from longtime Almirola sponsor Smithfield.

What it means: Almirola will be in the best equipment of his Cup Series career after Smithfield and Richard Petty Motorsports resolved their legal issues. There had been a holdup in announcing this move after Smithfield’s CEO and Petty himself had a war of words during what seemed like a bitter breakup, and that apparently led to behind-the-scenes wrangling over whether Smithfield and Almirola could go to a different team as a package. That’s all behind them now, and Almirola will join Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and whoever drives the 41 car (probably Kurt Busch) at SHR next season.

News value (scale of 1-10): Four. The primary newsworthiness in this situation appears to be making it “official,” since everyone knew for awhile now that Almirola was heading to SHR. Still, it is more newsy than other non-surprises because it’s a major team with a high-profile team owner.

Three questions: Despite spending his career in lesser equipment than Patrick, Almirola is statistically an upgrade in every category — but can he win races in the 10? Will Almirola be a perennial playoff driver now that he’s with an elite team? What exactly will Smithfield’s involvement with RPM be?

23 Replies to “News Analysis: Aric Almirola to drive No. 10 car at Stewart-Haas Racing”

  1. They probably can’t afford Kenneth and Smithfield came with Almirola and any driver in the Cup, Xfinity and truck garage would be an upgrade over Patrick, she never cared about Nascar, never put 100% in to trying to improve herself as a driver. Not saying the sport didn’t benefit from her being there just saying for her more iracing and less yoga.

  2. Tony & Matt at one time were good friends, Something happened that Matt cannot explain. Is this the reason Matt is not in that car?

  3. Frankly I was hoping for a different driver as well. I know it was kind of impossible but I was really hoping Bubba Wallace would get that ride. Nothing against Aric, I just don’t think he has the “it” factor. But I will keep an open mind.
    On the other hand, I really think the paint scheme is awesome!

  4. Bubba has a ride, with Petty. Of course they have no shop, no major sponsor, and have no clue what make of car they will run. Wow, Bubba has zero wins in xfinity, how exciting.
    Danica didn’t have the ability, neither behind the wheel or the ability to tell her crew chief what the car needed. Glad she was let go finally. She was very lucky go daddy sponsored her for so long. Go daddy has NEVER made money as a company in any quarter in its history.

    1. My beast wishes for Aric I’ve always thought he could do better with the right equipment. Go get’em home boy! 🙂

  5. Well, the Sponsor/Driver package is what really made this deal come together. Kenseth maybe would be a better choice, but who would the sponsor be, and he is 45 years old. You cannot expect that he will be around for more than a few years before wanting/needing to retire. Let’s face it, Mark Martin may be the last Cup driver we will see with a win at over age 50.

    Bubba is more of a risky choice. Plus, Bubba has zero sponsorship coming with him. Aric has those precious sponsorship dollars. Also, Aric has proven that he can at least keep the car in one piece most of the time and he has run where the cars he has been given should run. No worse-no better. Now he’s going to have to produce.

    So Aric is a pretty clear choice if you are looking for a long term replacement for Danica, in my opinion.

    1. It’s starting to look like that’s the case with any car. To me that makes NASCAR look like a joke. Imagine someone getting a starting spot on an NFL or MLB team because Nike wanted to build an advertising campaign around them. To some degree NASCAR has always been sponsor driven with respect to who gets what ride but it’s becoming blatant now.

        1. Do you have reading comprehension problems?
          I said “To some degree NASCAR has always been sponsor driven with respect to who gets what ride”.
          My point was that the degree to which that has become the norm is greater than I have seen in the past hence the “it’s becoming blatant now”.

  6. NASCAR is losing it’s historical base regarding viewers and people who actually buy tickets if you watch all the race tracks is exception of one or two most of them are half empty or more NASCAR is such a vanilla sport now that is so boring Formula 1 IRL and Rolex Sports Car Series how much more interesting and much more fun to watch retrospect it’s getting to the point where nobody cares

  7. NASCAR is the problem for ticket sales it’s not the race tracks they blamed the repaving of Bristol it’s a great track with great racing that’s not what caused the ticket sales to drop its NASCAR’s rules they should have never parked Matt Kenseth the penalty did not fit the crime

  8. Haters will hate Aric has made the playoffs probably would have this year if not for injury. He don’t tear up cars or act like a child when things go wrong. He might not set world on fire but I bet you hear his name alot next season

  9. Sorry Aric I just don’t think you have it. Whilst the right equipment is a major factor the eye of the tiger has to figure into the scenario and I haven’t seen anything close from Aric. The 48 crew can attest to that. Jimmys getting long in the tooth and it seems like some front porch sitting is looming on the horizon for that tiger. I wish all the best for Eric.

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