Almirola provided the update at Daytona International Speedway, the same track where he previously confirmed his plans to retire. He explained that this decision to come back for another run still revolved around his family. Almirola noted that they had figured out a better work-life balance.
Almirola will have a longtime supporter back for the 2023 Cup Series season. Smithfield Foods will return as the primary partner of the No. 10 Ford Mustang. The company will also expand its deal by having a “heightened presence” as the anchor partner.
“I’ve learned a lot this year and perhaps the biggest learning was to never say never,” Almirola said in a press release. “I came into this year ready to soak everything up, and I have.
“I already knew I had the coolest job in the world, but being with my family and being there for Janice and Alex and Abby was really important. My desire to compete and win never wavered, but I didn’t want it to come at the expense of family. We found a way to accommodate both and I’ve never been happier.”
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This Deal Covers More Than Just 2023
Almirola’s return has been a rumor for a significant amount of time. Motorsports.com’s Jim Utter even reported prior to the Watkins Glen International weekend that the veteran would be back in the No. 10. However, Almirola stunned many with a surprising announcement.
When Almirola confirmed his return to the No. 10, he made a comment about Smithfield Foods signing a multi-year extension. This created immediate questions about his own contract status, and SHR confirmed that both the driver and sponsor had agreed to multi-year deals. Though Almirola clarified that his situation could change after 2023.
“All of us at SHR are very happy to have Aric back in our Smithfield Ford Mustang,” Tony Stewart said. “I’ve always admired Aric because he’s always working to better himself, to find a better way. This year is proof of that. We’re in a tough sport, in terms of the competition and in terms of the commitment it takes to compete at this level.
“Even with all that, Aric has found a way to compete and enjoy life. That sounds simple, but achieving it is hard, yet Aric makes it look simple. It’s one of his many attributes, and it’s one of the many reasons why he’s such a good fit for Smithfield and for us. I’m proud of him and proud to extend our partnership with Smithfield.”
Almirola’s Family Took on New Adventures
Almirola mentioned the “work-life balance” multiple times during his press conference. On the surface, this made sense considering the hours spent studying film, working in the simulator, and taking part in different meetings.
The veteran provided more details about achieving this balance. He talked about how they were able to get their kids in a new school that had “satellite days” at the end of the week. This meant that the family could travel together to the race track and spend more time together.
They took advantage of these opportunities by taking in the sights around various tracks. This included hiking in the desert, visiting the St. Louis arch, and visiting other landmarks across the country. Now they will be able to continue this tradition in the coming years.