Stewart-Haas Racing has Aric Almirola lined up to drive the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series in 2019. This partnership comes with familiar faces, notably team co-owner Tony Stewart and crew chief John Klausmeier.
“I’ve known Tony Stewart since our time together at Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).” said Aric Almirola. “I know what he expects and he knows my commitment. I can’t thank him and Smithfield enough for believing in me and providing this opportunity.”
Tony Stewart, who co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) with Haas Automation found Gene Haas, is outspoken in his support for the 33-year old Cuban American driver. “I’ve raced with him and seen him mature into a really good racecar driver. He can compete for wins here at Stewart-Haas Racing and help our other drivers compete for wins. He’s an excellent fit for this team and for Smithfield.”
In 2007, Almirola left JGR to join Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he met John Klausmeier, an engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland-Baltimore. Almirola’s career has come full circle in 2018, with Klausmeier rising to become his crew chief and Stewart now is team co-owner after a decorated driving career.
Almirola’s transition to SHR took place after six seasons wheeling the iconic No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). In his time with RPM, Almirola scored the organization’s first victory in the famed No. 43 since 1999 when he won the July 2014 race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He also won a pole and earned 11 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes.
Almirola’s career came full circle in 2018. The driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang embarked on his seventh full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but first with SHR, and had a career year.