|CAR||#43 Ford Fusion|
|CREW CHIEF||Todd Parrott|
|BIRTHDAY||March 14, 1984|
Aric Almirola has been viewed as a rising star among the current crop of young drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but he’s had trouble landing a full-time ride since arriving on the scene in 2007. That all changed last year when he was handed the keys to the famed No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford and ran the full 36-race schedule for the first time. Almirola experienced the usual ups and downs, but he showed flashes of consistent speed, particularly in qualifying as he registered the first pole of his career at one of the marquee races of the season -- the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
As he enters the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Almirola is filled with confidence since it will be his first full campaign with crew chief Todd Parrott. The two were paired for the final 10 races of 2012 and showed immediate results as Almirola qualified in the top 5 four times, top-10 on five occasions, and tied his career-best finish when he ran fourth at Martinsville in October. He was poised to beat that in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but while running third on the white flag lap he ran out of gas and coasted to a seventh-place finish.
* Almirola made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in a fourth car for Joe Gibbs Racing at Las Vegas and finished 41st after getting involved in an accident.
* He is credited with one NASCAR Nationwide Series victory (2007) while running with JGR and two in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Billy Ballew (2010).
* Almirola grew up in Tampa, but currently resides in North Carolina, along with his wife, Janice, and their new baby son, Alex, who was born in September 2012.
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the second tour of duty for Almirola with Richard Petty Motorsports. After Kasey Kahne moved to Red Bull Racing near the end of the 2010 season, Almirola replaced him and ran the final five races of the season in the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion. He ended that year on a high note with a career-best fourth-place run at Homestead-Miami Speedway.