Motorsport.com first announced on August 19 that Almerola has decided to postpone his retirement from the NASCAR Cup Series and that he and Smithfield will return to SHR for the 2023 season.
Additionally, SHR announced Friday at Daytona International Speedway that the driver and sponsor will return with a multi-year contract extension.
The 2023 season will now be the 12th consecutive year Smithfield has partnered with Almerola and the sixth together in SHR. Smithfield’s sponsorship will also include the largest number of races since she joined SHR in 2018.
“I learned a lot this year, and perhaps the biggest learning is to never say never,” Almerola said. “I came this year ready to soak it all up, and have it. I already knew I had the coolest job in the world, but being with my family and being there for Janice and Alex and Abby was really important.
“My desire to compete and win has never wavered, but I did not want it to come at the expense of the family. We found a way to accommodate the two and I have never been happier.”
In early January, Almerola announced that the 2022 season would be his last NASCAR drive. At the time, he said he wanted to devote more time to his family.
He said on Friday that this is still the case.
“Smithfield is a big part of that. They’ve been a part of my life for 11 years, and in fact, my entire career in the NASCAR Cup Series. It’s family to me. Of course, it’s always good to be wanted,” Almerola said.
“Smithfield wanted me to continue representing them. Stewart Haas Racing He wanted me to keep driving their race cars. Everything just goes along and it’s something we all embrace.
“The original decision to step away from racing full-time at the end of the season was a family decision, and so is that decision. Janis, Alex and Abby are just as excited as I am to continue racing the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang.”
Eric Almerola, Stewart Haas Racing, Smithfield Ford Mustang
Photo: Nigel Kenrad/NKP/ motorsports pictures
Shane Smith, President and CEO of Smithfield Foods, said: “NASCAR is exactly where we need to be. It’s where our customers are, and nobody gets them better than he does. Eric Almerola. He’s an incredibly talented racer and a loyal family man who embodies Smithfield’s values.
“From day one, Eric has embodied our commitment to doing good for our customers, employees and communities. This is a reinvestment in Aric, in Stewart-Haas Racing, and in NASCAR.”
Almirola decision cancels No. 10 as an option in 2023 for Kyle BushWhich is still without a confirmed trip to the Cup next season. Bosch’s current contract with Joe Gibbs expires at the end of this season and he has yet to agree to an extension.
Stewart Haas Racing 2023 drivers list
The SHR driver lineup will now look the same in 2023 as it was made available this season Cole Custer Back in 41st place. When asked about Custer’s return last week, SHR CEO Greg Zibadelli said, “For now, I think that’s our plan.”
Almerola made his trophy series debut on March 11, 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, three days before his 23rd birthday. Collaborated with Smithfield in 2012 while at Richard Petty Motorsports In his first full year in the cup.
Almerola’s best season came with SHR. He finished fifth at the highest level of his career in 2018 and scored an 18th best game at 10th in 2020.
So far this season, Almerola is 18th in the series standings with two of the top five and seven of the top ten. He will need to win the regular season finale on Saturday night in Daytona to qualify for the playoffs this year as there are already 14 different winners.
Throughout his NASCAR career, Almirola has won three Cup races, three Xfinity Series races and two truck wins.