Report: Aric Almirola to return to No. 10 Cup team for 2023 season
Aric Almirola, who announced in January that this would be his final full-time Cup season, will return next season to the No. 10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing, according to a report Friday by motorsport.com.
The report also stated that sponsor Smithfield is expected back.
A spokesperson from Stewart-Haas Racing told NBC Sports: “Stewart-Haas Racing does not comment on the status of its contracts, be it driver or partner related.”
The move would not be surprising. Talk in the garage this summer had pointed toward Almirola returning as a way to help SHR retain Smithfield another year. Almirola said last month at New Hampshire that he was getting questions from more than reporters about his future.
“More questions are getting asked by decision makers,” he said then.
The 38-year-old Almirola heads into Sunday’s Cup race at Watkins Glen (3 p.m. ET on USA Network) outside a playoff spot. He needs to win either at Watkins Glen or next weekend’s season finale at Daytona International Speedway to earn a playoff spot.
A return by Almirola would take away a potential landing spot for Kyle Busch should he not get a deal done to remain at Joe Gibbs Racing beyond this season. Busch’s contract expires after this season. Joe Gibbs Racing also is seeking a sponsor the Busch’s car. Mars Inc., is leaving the sport after this season.
Almirola has been at SHR since 2018. He has scored two of his three career Cup wins at Stewart-Haas Racing, including last year’s victory at New Hampshire.