Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

What Happens if Aric Almirola Retires?

Article Contents

Circle B Diecast Block

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts
Stewart-Haas Racing, Smithfield, and Who Could Replace Him

Aric Almirola is the next Cup Series silly season story that fans have their eyes on. He is reportedly mulling retirement, and Bob Pockrass even reported yesterday that the rumor is Almirola is likely gone at the end of the season, with the added report that he expects SHR to be a four-car team in 2024. What is the impact of Aric Almirola should he end up retiring?

The Issue of Sponsorship

Aric Almirola brings a lot of funding with him because of his relationship with Smithfield Foods. If Almirola leaves, then does Smithfield go with him? It would appear that could happen given that Almirola has been partnered with Smithfield since he joined Richard Petty Motorsports in the 43 in 2012.

It is clearly an Almirola sponsor, not a Stewart-Haas Racing sponsor. Therefore, SHR is not only losing a driver, but they are also losing some significant funding. This also has an impact on the potential talent pool for SHR to pick from if Almirola does leave.

They cannot just pick the best available driver and fit sponsorship around it. They have to find a driver who brings a significant amount of funding with him. Keep in mind that SHR is still working on funding Josh Berry’s 4 car for the 2024 season, and it would be a significant challenge to do the same with a second car.

The Issue of the Talent Pool

Aric Almirola is not the best race car driver in the world by any stretch, but he has been very serviceable for SHR throughout most of his time there. In six seasons there, he has made the Playoffs four times with two victories, four poles, and three seasons of 12 or more top-10 finishes. He also keeps his cars on the race track as he is only averaging 3.5 DNFs per season with SHR.

Almirola’s drop in performance has coincided with an overall drop by SHR as a whole, so you cannot totally blame Almirola for everything. For the most part, Almirola is a driver that SHR can count on for solid results without damaging too much equipment. He’s not a driver who will deliver anything spectacular, but he runs well enough and provides enough funding to be an asset to a race team.

If he leaves, then SHR’s best option is likely Cole Custer. Custer brings funding, yes, but his Cup Series performance throughout his career has been not great. He only won one race, finished outside of the top 20 in points in two of his three seasons, and averaged 5.3 DNFs per season.

Now, he has run well in Xfinity this season, but that does not guarantee he will translate that new confidence into Cup Series success. Aside from that, there is Riley Herbst who has Monster Energy support, but he has never won a race in NASCAR’s National Touring Series, along with averaging seven DNFs per season as a full-time Xfinity driver.

Aside from that, it is Ford drivers like Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes, and Hailie Deegan in the Xfinity Series. It’s hard to see that any one of these drivers can produce the results Almirola did. Not only because of equipment, but whether or not they have enough talent.

Conclusion

It is easy to see why SHR would want Almirola to come back. They are in a difficult spot as an organization as they already are having a down year in terms of performance. Almirola takes away not only funding, but he leaves a seat open to some, quite frankly, not-so-exciting candidates.

That is why SHR is likely hoping that Almirola comes back. However, they cannot guarantee it.

Aluma Trailers

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts