Recently, Aric Almirola signed a contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing keeping him at the team beyond the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
However, the driver of No. 10 Ford understands that if you do not perform at this “performance-based business” you will soon find your way out of the team.
“This is a performance-driven business,” said Almirola. “You can occasionally get opportunities for various reasons, but at the end of the day, you have to perform, and if you don’t, your days or years will be numbered. So yeah, me joining Stewart-Haas Racing and performing at the level I have over the last three years, being a consistent playoff contender, and my first year, 2018, going really deep in the playoff rounds and ultimately finishing fifth in the points, was reinvigorating for me and my career. Absolutely.”
Almirola heads to the 2020 playoffs, having made the 16 drivers lineup due to his points standings. However, having close ties with long-time sponsor Smithfield has surely helped the driver to extend his stay. His SHR teammate Clint Bowyer, who made the playoffs in the same way, is still to be offered an extension.
“I had gone six seasons before that and never really seen that type of success, and there’s only so long you can stay in the sport and be average. That’s just being truthful. I was grateful for that opportunity in 2018. I took that opportunity knowing I was going to do one of two things – I was either going to perform at a high level like Stewart-Haas Racing is capable and I was going to rise to that occasion, or I was going to be average and my days were going to be numbered, and I was probably going to be out of the sport.
“But at that point, I would be able to sleep at night knowing that I got a great opportunity and I wasn’t as good as I thought I was, or I got a great opportunity and I performed at a pretty high level. So far, I’ve been able to have some success. I still want more. I still have a burning desire to win more races, lead more laps, and ultimately win a championship. But so far we’ve been successful.”
The driver has surely been putting consistent performances this season. He had the fifth-best average finish in the 26 regular-season races. Additionally, he pulled up a nine back-to-back top-10 finishes this season.