NASCAR: The driver who could benefit from Aric Almirola’s announcement

Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Stewart-Haas Racing driver Aric Almirola recently announced his plans to retire after the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, opening up the door for another driver.

Stewart-Haas Racing are set to see a driver change for 2023 with Aric Almirola set to retire from NASCAR following the 2022 Cup Series season.

Almirola has been with the team since 2018, and he has earned two victories during his four years there so far. The Tampa, Florida native has been known for his storied partnership with primary sponsor Smithfield.

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In a 2021 season that saw 16 different winners, Almirola’s most recent win was a surprise to say the least. It opened up the discussion as to whether or not NASCAR should rethink the playoff system, as his season went from seeing DNFs pile up to him being virtually locked into the playoffs.

The 37-year-old cites wanting to “spend more time with his family” as the key factor behind his decision to retire. The move to write an end to a 15-year NASCAR career will certainly allow the father of two to do just that.

With Almirola’s career coming to an end and a new face guaranteed to be in the #10 car for 2023, his announcement benefits one driver in particular.

Former JTG Daugherty Racing driver Ryan Preece, who spent the last three years driving the #37 Chevrolet before they dropped that entry, was recently announced as a reserve driver for the team co-owned by Gene Haas and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart.

Set to compete in select races across all of three NASCAR’s series throughout 2022 and do other simulator work, he has earned the opportunity to be fully submerged in the Stewart-Haas Racing program.

He has a chance to prove himself as a viable candidate to replace Almirola behind the wheel of the #10 Ford 2023. In addition to the Stewart-Haas Racing Cup Series team, Preece is set to work with all the teams with which Stewart-Haas Racing have an alliance. Should any rides open up on those teams, he will be able to show how he can perform in their equipment.

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Preece may find himself all across the NASCAR touring map throughout the upcoming season, but a bet on himself may open up the door for a key opportunity in 2023.