NASCAR Star Aric Almirola Retiring After the 2022 Season

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

NASCAR star Aric Almirola is turning in his firesuit after next season, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

The driver posted a message on YouTube Monday, saying he had a “short window” to spend time with his children “while they still think dad’s cool.”

“I’m going to be 38 years old in March, and I feel like, for 38 years, my life has always revolved around me, my schedule, everything I had going on,” Almirola said in the video. “When I was a kid, my parents did everything they possibly could do to get me to school, to run me to basketball practice, to go to the go-kart track. Everything revolved around what I needed to do.”

The racer has run 388 races over 14 seasons with a few notable race wins. Over the years, Almirola picked up “The Cuban Missile” nickname and shared it with New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

The Florida native won the 2014 Coke Zero 400, the 2018 500, and two 2021 races (Bluegreen Vacations Duel and NASCAR All-Star Open exhibition).

Family Important For Almirola In Decision

NASCAR drivers commit to an intense schedule during the season.

That time crunch made Almirola wonder if he’d get to spend enough time with his wife and children.

The driver joked that both children would have car keys and be “running off with their friends” soon. He admitted he didn’t want to miss them growing up

Almirola, who started with Joe Gibbs Racing and now races for Stewart-Haas Racing, said he prayed about the decision. He decided that he “couldn’t afford not to” spend time with his family.

Next Season Big For Almirola, Stewart-Haas Racing

The driver said he was looking forward to the new NextGen Cup Series car on Monday. 

He finished with a career-high fifth in the driver’s standings in 2018. The driver said felt he’s accomplished quite a bit in his long career. 

Almirola said that “results and trophies and all of those things” will not change his life. He added that having a “quality relationship with my wife and my kids” would change his life.

Car co-owner Tony Stewart said Almirola “has really delivered for our race team and for Smithfield, always putting in maximum effort.”

“I know he wants to go out on a high note, and we’re going to give him all the resources to succeed,” Stewart told NBC Sports.