Aric Almirola started the 2009 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 8 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing before the lack of sponsorship knocked him out of the ride back in April after just seven races.
He has, since then, attempted two races for James Finch Racing and ran the Loudon Cup race for the team.
Across the board doesn't matter which series of the top three you look at it's really effect the young talent in NASCAR.
Many haven't run any races, others are running partial schedules with multiple teams and then you have a few like Almirola who are given a chance.
Back in June, Billy Ballew Motorsports signed him to run in the No. 15, when it's normal driver Brian Ickler would fill in for Kyle Busch in the No. 51 and he's been there ever since.
It's turned into a permanent gig for Almirola, as he's taken over the driving chores of the No. 15 and the last two races Busch missed he filled in driving the No. 51.
Almirola has made 11 starts for BBM now, nine in the No. 15 and two in the No. 51. Compiling five top fives, eight top-10 finishes, led 23 laps, with a average start of 14.1 and a average finish of 8.8.
He has a career best finished of second, and put together a seven race streak of top-10 finishes or better.
Almirola has turned into a nice addition to the Truck Series. While he's one of the many young talent in the series, he's no rookie having made his debut in 2005, and prior to this season, he's made 33 career starts.
"I'm very thankful for Billy Ballew and the opportunity he's provided me to get back on the race track and continue to prove myself in the sport," said Almirola.
With five races to go, I won't be surprised to see him in victory lane. He's tough picking up some hard earned finishes, and with his Doug George led crew they're gunning to do just that.
"I've had a lot of fun racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and racing with these guys. It's extremely competitive and you can't take anything for granted."
The exciting news for Almirola, is that Billy Ballew has already announced he'll be back in 2010, driving one of the trucks but will need sponsorship for it to be official.
With good finishes over the last five races in 2009, even a win, may just be enough to get Graceway Pharmaceuticals to re-new for the coming season.
With keeping Almirola, the entire No. 15 crew, led by crew chief Doug George, may very well have a shot at winning the title in 2010.
I'm definitely happy to see Almirola get the chance with Billy Ballew Motorsports. He's found a home in Trucks and it can only lead to a second chance at racing in Sprint Cup.
Sources: truckseries.com and stat info. from racingreference.info
Photo Credit: aricalmirolamotorsports.com