By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The latest piece of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series puzzle has been placed as Stewart-Haas Racing announced Thursday that Aric Almirola will continue piloting the No. 10 Smithfield Foods Ford Mustang in 2020.
After a biggest breakthrough campaign of his career in 2018 where he scored a win at Talladega last October and finished a career-high fifth in points, it has been a rather quiet 2019 campaign for the 12-year veteran.
Although Almirola scored a pole at Atlanta and making the playoffs for the third time in his career, he failed to advance into the Round of 12 and has a single top-five at Phoenix.
Despite this, Tony Stewart (co-owner of SHR) said he’s still a driver that can get the job done on any given Sunday.
“Aric is one of the most focused and determined drivers I’ve ever met, and he’s got the skills to match,” Stewart said. “He’s taken the opportunity here at SHR and seized it. Keeping him as the driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang was a priority and we’re very happy to have it continue.”
Not only Almirola will stay, his long-time sponsor since 2012 Smithfield will stick around. A partnership Michael Merritt (Senior Marketing Director of Smithfield Foods) describes as resonating towards the company’s image.
“The Smithfield brand has enjoyed great success with Aric Almirola and Stewart-Haas Racing,” Merritt said. “It’s a true partnership that performs on the racetrack, with retailers and our consumers. Aric resonates well with them because he’s genuine and, overall, a great ambassador for the company. He has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today and we’ve been a part of that journey for nearly a decade, and the payoff from all that hard work has been amplified by Stewart-Haas Racing.”
The 35-year-old Floridian said he’s proud of continuing his relationship with SHR and Smithfield in the foreseeable future.
“I said when I first came to Stewart-Haas Racing that this is the opportunity every driver wants, and I’m obviously very proud to have it continue,” Almirola said. “Our relationship with Smithfield is strong. From the customers, to the retailers and all of the employees, we take a tremendous amount of pride in representing the Smithfield brand. They’re our biggest supporters and it’s what drives us every time we hit the racetrack.”
Almirola will look to score his third career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at Talladega Superspeedway Oct. 13. Race day coverage of the 1000bulbs.com 500 will begin at 2 pm EST on NBC.