NASCAR driver pulling a Tom Brady? ‘Never say never’

Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Back in January, it was announced that the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season would be Aric Almirola’s final season competing at the sport’s top level. But is it?

Before the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season began, Aric Almirola announced that it would be his last. He is in his fifth season behind the wheel of the #10 Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing after replacing Danica Patrick in 2018, and he is in his 15th season competing at the sport’s top level as a whole.

Because he had made up his mind, Almirola felt that making the announcement before the 2022 season started, rather than waiting until during or after to do so, was in the best interest of not just himself and his family, but of his partners and team.

“I just felt like it was the right thing to do for my partners and the race team so that they could start navigating what’s next for them,” Almirola told Beyond the Flag. “I felt like it would be totally unfair for me to kind of have that idea and that feeling like this was going to be it, but then me keep it to myself and kind of spring it on the race team and my partners.

“Personally, I felt like it was the right thing to do, not only for me and my family life, but for the people who have invested so much in me and my career, to give them enough of a runway to start planning what’s next.”

Not long after he announced his retirement, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady did the same.

Almirola, a native of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, also happens to be a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As we all know, Brady ended up unretiring a few weeks later and announcing his plans to return for the upcoming NFL season.

While he maintains an attitude of “never say never”, Almirola doesn’t intend to follow Brady’s lead and change his mind.

“I don’t think so, but we’ll see; I’ve learned in life to never say never,” he admitted. “Life is so complicated; you just have no idea what the future holds. I’ve learned to never say never, but for the time being, I would say no.”

Whether Almirola decides to return for more races beyond 2022 or not, it does remain obvious that the #10 Ford will indeed have a new full-time driver next year.

Ryan Preece is currently the team’s official reserve driver and makes sense as a potential replacement, but a number of other interesting prospects have had their names thrown into the mix as of late.

After bringing up the subject of Brady, we also asked Almirola which AFC team he believes his Buccaneers will face in Super Bowl LVII come Sunday, February 12, 2023.

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“It’s hard to go against the Chiefs,” he said. “But the Bills looked really strong. If the Bills can stay healthy and do like they did last year, they’re going to be tough. But I’d like to say that Tampa is for sure going to take it for the NFC. I think the Chiefs are always a threat. So yeah, if you’re going to make my pinpoint one, I would say probably Tampa versus the Chiefs again.”