NO. 43 TEAM DRIVER
Birthday: March 14, 1984
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
Current Residence: Mooresville, N.C.
• Completed first full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in No. 43 Ford in 2012. Won first Cup Series pole at Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Earned one top-five finish and four top-10 results. Finished 20th in standings.
• Finished fourth in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings in his first, full-time season in the series. Collected one pole, seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes.
• Won two races and finished in the runner-up spot in the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Earned 11 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes.
• Cup Series career-best finish of fourth place in the No. 9 Ford in Homestead in 2010 and Martinsville in 2012.
• Made first NASCAR Cup Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007.
• Was an original member of the Joe Gibbs Racing/Reggie White Driver Diversity Program.
• Rookie of the year in the Florida Modified Division and the Southern Automobile Racing Association in 2000.
Aric Almirola's entrance into the motorsports world began in 1992 at the age of eight. Racing go-karts, Almirola earned championships at both the local and state levels before advancing to national competition in 1998. That year he earned the pole for the World Karting Association’s prestigious Grand National event in Daytona, Fla., before finishing the year fourth in the national point standings.
Almirola joined the ranks of open wheel modifieds in 2000 and earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Florida Modified division and the Southern Automobile Racing Association. Almirola made his way to the Florida Sunbelt Series and took Rookie of the Year honors there as well before winning a series-high six poles the following year.
Due to his results in the grassroots levels, in 2003, Almirola was tapped to be one of the original members of the Joe Gibbs Racing/Reggie White Driver Diversity Program. He made his first foray into NASCAR competition in 2004 behind the wheel of a late model stock car at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. Almirola collected two victories, six top-five and 15 top-10 finishes that year.
Almirola continued his winning ways driving late models again the next season. He won seven races and earned 11 pole positions that year. Those impressive statistics caught the eye of the owners of Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, who chose him to pilot the team’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride in four races. Almirola finished inside the top-10 twice.
Almirola moved to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2006 and earned his first career Nationwide Series pole at The Milwaukee Mile. The Tampa, Fla., native remained in the Nationwide Series in 2007 and was credited with his first win at The Milwaukee Mile qualifying and starting a car entered for Denny Hamlin, who flew in from a Sprint Cup Series event and replaced him midway through the event. That shared victory helped open doors to NASCAR’s premiere series, and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. inked Almirola to a part-time Cup Series deal in 2008. Almirola drove sporadically in the Cup Series and Nationwide Series the following two years.
In 2010, Almirola found himself racing full time in the truck series for Billy Ballew Motorsports, earning two wins and finishing second in the championship point standings. In addition, Almirola piloted a Nationwide car for JR Motorsports in seven events before signing on to race full-time with the team in 2011. Almirola drove to seven top-five and 18 top-10 efforts in addition to one pole position en route to a fourth-place finish in the standings with JR Motorsports.
Joining Richard Petty Motorsports in January 2012 to drive the legendary No. 43 Ford, Almirola made his way back to the Sprint Cup Series and earned his first, full-season opportunity. Almirola wasted little time being successful, earning his first Cup Series pole for the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. He finished the season with one top-five and four top-10 finishes. He returns to the No. 43 in 2013 looking for his first win and entry into the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.