Stewart-Haas driver Aric Almirola has revealed that he won’t be returning to NASCAR after the culmination of the 2022 season.
Almirola made his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2007 and has gone on to take part in 388 races over the course of these years. He feels that it’s time to leave full-time racing because he wants to spend more time with his family.
‘The Cuban Missile’ ends his 14-year long career with 3 race wins in the Cup Series, and a further 5 wins in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series.
Almirola said in a recent interview with Fox Garage that, now that his kids are growing up, he wants to be a part of their lives. “I just realized that my family was making a lot of sacrifices for me to chase my dreams,” he said.
I’ve got something to say…
— Aric Almirola (@Aric_Almirola) January 10, 2022
“Dad is just not present. I’m not there for the football games, the baseball games. My daughter’s gotten into horseback riding, theatre, dance. I miss those on the weekends when I’m travelling all over the country racing for 40 weeks a year.”
“It’s becoming harder and harder as they get involved more and more into sports and activities. And they’ve got friends. They don’t want to leave on the weekends.” the Stewart-Haas driver added.
Aric Almirola is not saying goodbye to his racing career
After the end of the 2022 Cup Series, Almirola will no longer be a full-time driver. However, he does not intend to move away from racing, stating it as something he dearly loves.
The life of a NASCAR driver is hectic; travelling around the US all year long with little time to spend with family and loved ones. The 37-year old wants a break from that.
Almirola does not have any plans for the future as of yet. He described himself as an ‘adrenaline junkie’ and promised he would return behind a wheel in some form in the future. However, he looks forward to not feeling the pressure of competing in a prestigious series like NASCAR.
“It feels like I’m punishing them saying, ‘No, come on, we’re going to go to the races this weekend,’ when they would rather be home living their life,” he continued.
“At 19 years old I became a professional race car driver and I’ve never done anything else. I won’t say goodbye to racing forever, it’s definitely something I love very much.”
Almirola finished 15th in the Standings last year with 2215 points to his name. His only race win in 2021 came at the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 in July.