Despite having no wins on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Danica Patrick will be tough to replace when she splits with Stewart-Haas Racing after the season.
And now we know who will get the chance to fill her seat in the No. 10 Ford in 2018.
SHR is set to reveal current Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola as the new pilot for the No. 10 team during a press conference Wednesday, Motorsport.com reports. The 33-year-old has been linked to SHR ever since Patrick announced in September that she’d be leaving the team after the season.
It’s still not clear whether Almirola will be sponsored by Smithfield, which sponsored the No. 43 team the past six seasons at RPM. In an interesting twist, Smithfield reportedly will continue a relationship with the RPM next season as it transitions to SHR, according to ESPN. The food company initially parted ways with RPM in September.
The partnership is a bit surprising, considering the harsh words Smithfield and RPM owner Richard Petty exchanged after the food company backed out of a “handshake deal.”
As for Almiorla, moving to SHR presents the Florida native with the best opportunity of his career, as it will mark the first time he’s driven full-time for one of NASCAR’s top-tier teams. Since arriving on Cup as a part-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2007, Almirola has made 241 starts in NASCAR’s premier series.
He has one win (2014 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway), 11 top-fives and 31 top-10s.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports Images