NASCAR: 5 drivers who pulled a ‘Tom Brady’

Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, NASCAR (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, NASCAR (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /
1 of 5

Aric Almirola was set to retire from NASCAR competition following this season, but he has decided to return, a move that has been seen before.

The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series silly season unofficially started in late January when Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola announced that he would retire following the 2022 season. But since that announcement, Almirola has signed a multi-year extension with the team to pilot the #10 Ford for the foreseeable future.

The Fort Walton Beach, Florida native took a play out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady’s playbook, announcing his retirement before backtracking on the move before he ever missed a single event.

Retiring from the NFL versus retiring from NASCAR is quite different, as drivers aren’t forced to sign papers to cement their move and are often welcomed back with open arms.

Almirola did say to “never say never” when discussing a possible return with Beyond the Flag back in June, and his decision to take back his initial announcement is one made by many past drivers.

Here are five drivers who pulled a “Tom Brady” and came out of retirement.

Drivers who pulled a “Tom Brady”: No. 1 – Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip is an interesting one, as he was able to retire twice in two different facets of NASCAR. The three-time Cup Series champion’s retirement tour came during the 2000 season, driving the #66 Ford for Haas-Carter Motorsports. Be he came out of retirement to occasionally compete in the Truck Series from 2002 to 2005.

Waltrip even returned to stock cars in 2006, when he competed for his brother Michael in the Busch Series, finishing in 28th place at Martinsville Speedway. But coming out of retirement wasn’t exclusive to the race track for Waltrip.

The NASCAR Hall of Famer began a full-time career in broadcasting following his initial retirement from racing. He retired from the sport for the second time in 2019. But much like his first retirement, Waltrip came out of retirement to call the 2022 dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

At 75 years old, the Owensboro, Kentucky native seems content in his retirement life. But never say never when it comes to Good Ol’ D.W.