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If there are hard-luck losers in life, Aric Almirola's had a hard-luck career.
A product of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, the Cuban-American caught the eye of Joe Gibbs Racing, who signed him as a developmental driver.
Almirola ran limited slates in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck levels in 2005-2007, with a win to his credit in June 2007 at the Milwaukee Mile.
He originally started the race that day in the No. 20 Chevrolet, but sponsor Rockwell Automation wanted Denny Hamlin in the car, and he took over mid-race.
From there, Almirola replaced Regan Smith in splitting time with Mark Martin at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the No. 8 Chevy in 2008—a ride he was to take over full-time the next season at the Sprint Cup level.
After funding dried up in the 2009 season, Almirola joined Billy Ballew Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. Last season, he won two races in June—Dover and Michigan.
Almirola's success at that level brought him a stint at Richard Petty Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series after Kasey Kahne vacated the No. 9 Ford late last season, as well as a full-time ride in the Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports this season.
Almirola's been solid in the No. 88 Chevy, with three Top Fives and 10 Top 10s to his credit.