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Tampa’s Aric Almirola putting off NASCAR Cup Series retirement

He signs a multiyear agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing, saying he has discovered a better family-racing balance.
Aric Almirola answers questions during a media availability Friday for the NASCAR Cup Series' Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.
Aric Almirola answers questions during a media availability Friday for the NASCAR Cup Series' Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. [ TERRY RENNA | AP ]
Published Aug. 26|Updated Aug. 26

DAYTONA BEACH — Tampa’s Aric Almirola is putting off retirement and remaining at Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR’s Cup Series for at least another year.

Almirola, 38, signed a multiyear agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing that includes more financial backing from longtime sponsor Smithfield Foods. Almirola, a Hillsborough High alumnus, had said in January that he would retire from full-time NASCAR competition after this year.

Related: Tampa’s Aric Almirola finishes fifth in (likely) final Daytona 500

Almirola, who is completing his 11th consecutive year with Smithfield as a sponsor, said he discovered a new balance between family and racing in 2022. His wife, Janice, and two kids — Alex, 9, and Abby, 8— joined him for most race weekends as they turned the work trips into minivacations by visiting ballparks and hitting tourist spots across the country.

They visited the St. Louis arch, took in baseball games in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Detroit, and took a road trip between Phoenix and Las Vegas that including a hiking excursion to Zion National Park in Utah.

“I have found a renewed sense of what a work-life balance looks like,” Almirola said, adding that his family will have made 28 races by the end of the year. “We’ve just really taken this year to embrace it and soak it all up, and I think as a family we’re not ready for it to end yet.”

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