JR Motorsports announced today that Aric Almirola has signed a multi-year contract to drive the team’s #88 NASCAR Nationwide Series Chevrolet beginning next season. The 26-year old Almirola is currently second in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points, driving for Billy Ballew Motorsports, and has 32 career Nationwide starts. He resume includes one Nationwide win, after he started a race before giving way for driver Denny Hamlin, who went on to take the checkered flag.
JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt called Almirola “a quintessential JR Motorsports driver,” saying he meshes well with the team and its sponsors.
No NatWide Chase: ESPN.com is reporting that NASCAR officials are considering a Chase-style playoff for the NASCAR Nationwide Series that will exclude Sprint Cup drivers. Sources tell Sirius Speedway, however, that such a system has been considered, but will not be adopted.
NASCAR President Mike Helton met with owners, drivers and crewchiefs Monday here in Concord, N.C., to discuss possible changes to the series. But sources say those talks centered mostly on cost-containment – specifically limiting the number of team members allowed to travel each week -- and ways to insure that new drivers are allowed to develop and flourish. The possibility exists for NASCAR to stop awarding Nationwide championship points to any driver who ranks in the Top-35 in Sprint Cup points, beginning next season.
More Schedule News: Texas Motor Speedway’s spring Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events will go under the lights on April 8 and 9, 2011. The track’s November race weekend will continue to feature day racing for the Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series’ November 3-6. Track President Eddie Gossage hailed the advent of night racing in the Lone Star State, saying, "I’ve been around NASCAR racing at night my entire life — from attending night races in Nashville to promoting night races at Bristol and Charlotte — and I’ve always found them to be electric. We’ve always wanted one here and this year NASCAR presented us with the opportunity.”
Officials at Iowa Speedway have confirmed that they will host a pair of Nationwide Series races next season; on Sunday, May 22 and Saturday night, August 6. U.S. Cellular, which served as title sponsor for the track’s lone Nationwide races in both 2009 and 2010, will put its name on the August event, while a new sponsor being sought for the May race.