NASCAR veteran returning to Joe Gibbs Racing after 17 years

Aric Almirola is set to make his first start of the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season with Joe Gibbs Racing, where he made his series debut nearly two decades ago.

Ryan Truex, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR
Ryan Truex, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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Before the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season began, Aric Almirola announced that he would be retiring once it ended, ending a five-year run with Stewart-Haas Racing and a 15-year career at NASCAR's top level. But during the season, he changed his mind and opted to return for 2023.

While his new deal was said to keep him behind the wheel of the No. 10 Ford for 2023 "and beyond", it was believed to contain a clause that would allow him to move on after the 2023 season if he chose to do so.

Almirola indeed left Stewart-Haas Racing after the 2023 season, with Noah Gragson replacing him behind the wheel of the No. 10 Ford for the 2024 season, but he once again put off a full retirement.

Aric Almirola returns to Joe Gibbs Racing

The 39-year-old Fort Walton Beach, Florida native made his Xfinity Series and his Cup Series debut with the same team: Joe Gibbs Racing. He competed in select Xfinity Series races for the team in 2006 and 2007 and one Cup Series race for the team in 2007.

He signed with Joe Gibbs' organization to compete part-time behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota in 2024. After Ryan Truex opened up the season behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota with a 21st place finish at Daytona International Speedway and a ninth place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Almirola is set to make his official return to Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend.

Almirola is set to pilot the No. 19 Toyota in Saturday afternoon's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which is where he made his Cup Series debut with the organization in 2007. He competed in the Xfinity Series race at the track in 2007 as well.

Almirola's stint at Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series included one victory at the Milwaukee Mile in 2007. He is a four-time winner in the series, with the most recent of this wins coming at Sonoma Raceway last June with RSS Racing.

The locations of Almirola's other starts this season with Joe Gibbs Racing have not yet been announced. In fact, beyond this weekend, the No. 19 Toyota has a confirmed driver for just three races, all for William Sawalich to conclude the season. In addition to Almirola, Truex, and Sawalich, the car's confirmed drivers for the 2024 season include Joe Graf Jr. and Taylor Gray.

Next. NASCAR team adds another new driver for the 2024 season. NASCAR team adds another new driver for the 2024 season. dark

Saturday's 200-lap race around the four-turn, 1.5-mile (2.414-kilometer) Las Vegas, Nevada oval is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss it!

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