It looked like Aric Almirola would be back running a partial to full-time schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Phoenix Racing, but those plans may have changed with the team losing Miccosukee Resorts and Gaming weeks before the Daytona 500.
It looks bleak the ride opportunity will last past the Daytona race, since Phoenix Racing plans to run James Buescher in the Nationwide full-time regardless of sponsorship.
Almirola plans to run a full schedule for Billy Ballew Motorsports in the No. 51 AKAwareness.com Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series.
He ran 16 races for the team in 2009, collecting seven top-fives and two top-10 finishes. He even picked up a career best second place finish at Talladega.
Almirola, who is a native of Tampa, is excited about racing at Daytona and having his family and friends in the stands cheering him on.
He has run races at Daytona in all three of NASCAR's top series and his best finish was 19th in the 2007 Nationwide race. He also won the pole for the race.
With how Almirola ran the last Superspeedway race at Talladega, picking up a second place finish and giving BBM a one-two finish in their 300th career start, don't be surprised to see Almirola racing in the lead pack and battling for the win all the way to the checkers.
"We're looking forward to starting the season off where we left off in 2009," said Almirola.
"Our trucks are really strong and we are looking to visit victory lane as much as we can. Richie (Wauters) and all the guys have been working long hours to make sure our trucks are as good as they can be."
Almirola will have one of those potent chassis Rowdy used to drive. He'll be very fast, needs to qualify well, and be there battling for the win or a top-10 finish at Daytona.
I'm glad to see he'll be full time in the Truck Series, glad to see Billy Ballew pair him up with Wauters and the No. 51 team, and believe he's an early contender for the title this year.
It'll be exciting watching him race as the season rolls on, notching his first win in NASCAR were he can celebrate in Victory Lane and not be standing on the sidelines like he was at Milwaukee in 2007 when he won his first Nationwide race for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Source for quote: billlyballewmotorsports.com