● One More Time: On Jan. 10, Aric Almirola released a video on his YouTube channel announcing his retirement from fulltime NASCAR Cup Series racing after the 2022 season to spend more time with his family. This year marks Almirola’s 11th fulltime Cup Series season. The official press release can be viewed here.
● “I want the Harley J. Earl Trophy:” Almirola has won races at Daytona in NASCAR’s top two series, but the Daytona 500 has managed to elude him, once by just half a lap. Click here to watch Almirola explain how winning the Daytona 500 would be the highest achievement of his career.
● History at Daytona: Almirola scored his first career Cup Series win in the rain-shortened July 2014 race at Daytona, when he led 14 laps. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he started on the pole in his first outing in July 2007, and he captured a win there while piloting the No. 98 Biagi-Den Beste Ford Mustang in July 2016. Last year, he won his Duel qualifying race for the first time in his career. Almirola also has three Daytona starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with a best finish of 12th. This year’s Daytona 500 marks Almirola’s 21st points-paying Cup Series start at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
● In the 2018 Daytona 500, Almirola was a half lap away from becoming a Daytona 500 champion. As he was leading the field to the checkered flag, he made an aggressive block on the No. 3 car of Austin Dillon before he was turned into the outside wall, ending his bid. In last year’s Daytona 500, Almirola showed strength by running at the front of the field on occasion, but his day ended when he was caught in a multicar accident on lap 190.
● To earn a spot in the Daytona 500, drivers must first compete in the Duel – twin 150-mile qualifying races Thursday night that set the 40-car field for Sunday’s main event. Almirola’s Duel win last year was his third consecutive top-three finish in the qualifying event.
● Before drivers compete in the Duel, they race the clock in single-lap qualifying Wednesday night. The two fastest cars are locked into front-row starting spots for the Daytona 500 while the rest of the field is determined by the results of the Duel. Even-numbered qualifiers race in the first Duel and odd-numbered qualifiers race in the second Duel. Almirola’s best Daytona 500 starting position was third, earned last year.
● Almirola’s career: In 388 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has earned three wins, 26 top-five finishes, 84 top-10s, three poles, and has led 893 laps.
● Almirola has an impressive record at superspeedways with two wins, seven top-fives, 12 top-10s and 84 laps led. Last June, he scored his eighth-consecutive top-10 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to tie the track record for most consecutive top-10s – a mark set by Hall of Fame inductee Dale Earnhardt Jr., between April 2001 and October 2004.