Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola
Stewart Haas Racing
Stewart Haas Racing
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The breakout driver of 2018 has to somehow follow up the stellar season he posted last year. Almirola raced to career bests of four Top-5 and 17 Top-10 finishes. The Florida native also went back to victory lane for the first time since 2014. Almirola showed his superspeedway prowess with an October victory at Talladega that propelled the No. 10 SHR team deep into the Chase. His 15.6 average starting position and 12.8 average finishing position were career-best marks as well. It's going to be tough for Almirola to improve upon these figures. Last year was such a quantum leap in terms of performance for this 34-year-old driver that it's nearly off the charts. We believe Almirola can hold onto most of these gains, but don't expect much, if any improvement. He may have very likely found his ceiling in season one at Stewart Haas Racing. Read Past Outlooks
Ninth-Place in STP 500
March 25, 2019
Almirola had a fast car, but faded to a ninth-place finish Sunday in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, reports.
Almirola qualified on the outside pole, and showed a strong race car throughout the practices leading up to the STP 500. The veteran driver of the No. 10 Ford would be a fixture inside the Top 5 in the first two stages, but would fade later in the race. Contact between Almirola's machine and the No. 18 Toyota of Kyle Busch would force him outside the Top 10, and he would battle the remainder of the event to break back inside the Top 10. By lap 500 he would take the checkered flag ninth for his fifth Top 10 of the season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
One of the biggest free agent moves of the off-season was Almirola. The veteran driver jumped from Richard Petty Motorsports and the iconic No. 43 Ford and into the No. 10 Ford of Stewart Haas Racing. Almirola takes over the ride that Danica Patrick vacated at SHR. It's a huge opportunity for the South Florida native to make a big jump in performance. This will be by far the most capable and talented team Almirola has raced for in his 10 seasons of competition at NASCAR's top level. He could challenge his career-best marks of seven Top 10's and a 16th-place points finish. In fact, we expect Almirola and his new team to challenge for a Chase playoff berth. John Klausmeier will team with him as crew chief and give guidance in season one at SHR. It's a situation set up for success.
Last season was a complete disaster for Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports. This driver experienced a major power outage and only claimed one Top-10 finish in all of 2016. That led to a lowly 26th-place finish in the final driver standings for Almirola. Those marks were career lows since he joined the Monster Energy Cup Series full-time in 2012. Things got to the point where a team shakeup happened last September. Drew Blickensderfer took over the crew chief responsibilities and led Almirola to his only Top 10 of the season (Talladega) and three Top 15s during the Chase. Things appear to be on a much better trend line going into the new season. Hopefully, Almirola can get back into the middle teens of the driver standings and nab 6 or 7 Top 10s along the way to a much better campaign than last year.
The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team has developed nicely the last couple years under Almirola's control. He has one Chase berth to his credit (2014), he's won a race (Daytona July 2014) and he's been finishing inside the top 20 of the driver standings each season. The big question is will Almirola and this team take the next steps in development or are they maxed out? We would tend to think the latter. Nothing is changing about the sponsorship, technical alliance, or team members for the upcoming season. Trent Owens will still call the shots from atop the team's war wagon. There's good reason to believe his hot and cold streaks we accustomed to seeing throughout a year will be the rule once again in 2016. A campaign of about 7 top 10s and a challenge for another Chase berth should be in store.
Almirola will return for another season of Sprint Cup Series Racing with Richard Petty’s historic No. 43 team. Despite five years and 71 starts of experience, 2012 was his first full-time season in NASCAR’s top division. The learning curve was steep and the lessons were many for Almirola last season. He labored to just four Top-10 finishes and a 20th-place finish in the final driver standings. 2013 should hold some incremental success for Almirola. He and crew chief Todd Parrott seemed to have things pretty well figured out at the end of last year. The duo posted a pair of Top 10’s in the final four races and had the No. 43 Ford team performing as well as they had all year long. We expect that momentum to carry right into February and beyond.
More Fantasy News
Strong Performance at Fontana
March 18, 2019
Almirola turned in another strong performance to earn a ninth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway Sunday afternoon, reports.
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Top-5 Finish at ISM Raceway
March 10, 2019
Almirola finished fourth in the Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway Sunday afternoon.
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Seventh at Vegas
March 4, 2019
Almirola came from deep in the field to finish seventh in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon, reports.
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Overcame Speeding Penalty to Finish Eighth
February 25, 2019
Almirola overcame an early-race pit road speeding penalty to finish eighth in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon, reports.
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Wins Atlanta Pole
February 22, 2019
Almirola won the pole for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday afternoon. He turned a fast lap of 181.473 mph.
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