Wednesday, January 04, 2012

CONFIRMED: Aric Almirola To RPM's No. 43

Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Aric Almirola will drive the legendary #43 Ford Fusion in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning in 2012.

Almirola has made 35 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series, his most recent coming in 2010 when he finished the last five races of the season in the #9 Ford. During the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Almirola posted a career-high, fourth-place effort. Almirola drove a JR Motorsports entry [#88 Chevy] in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 and capped off a successful season with a fourth-place finish in the championship point standings.

"One of the things I am most excited about is to have the chance to drive a car as iconic as the #43," stated Almirola. "There is so much history surrounding that number and to have my name above the door will be really special for me. This is the first real opportunity I've had to drive in the Cup Series full time. Last year the #43 team had a lot of speed and was competitive on a weekly basis. Greg Erwin is a great crew chief and I'm excited to work with him. Everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports has a lot of enthusiasm and drive and I'm really looking forward to getting to work."

Almirola will join a team that is poised to compete for a spot in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Paired with veteran crew chief Greg Erwin, Almirola will get behind the wheel for a team that earned one top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2011 en route to a 15th-place finish in the owner point standings.

"We are thrilled to welcome Aric Almirola into the RPM family," said RPM co-owner Richard Petty. "We feel extremely fortunate to have had a number of very talented drivers interested in joining our organization, but ultimately we felt Aric would be the best fit for the team and for our current and potential partners. We have had the chance to watch his progress for the past several years and we had success with him in the past. We are really confident in his potential as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. We think Aric has all the makings to be the next bright star in our sport."


  1. I think Aric will do a good job for RPM, but I feel bad for David Regan. He is a good driver who deserves a good ride for next year.
    My first choice for the 43 ride was Reutimann, but I am glad he got a ride with Tommy Baldwin.

  2. Anonymous12:08 PM

    You begin to ask yourself, what's wrong with David Reagan? Why is he ride-less?

    Doug from NJ

  3. Anonymous3:38 PM

    I agree with you Doug. All these teams passing on Ragan is a real surprise.
    It would seem that he would fit the mold that all sponsors are looking for, young, good looking and well spoken plus he's not a bad driver...

  4. Dan from NY4:02 PM

    I like David Regan but he is the only one that has had a tier 1 top level ride and didn't do much with it. I feel bad for him but AJ,Rudy,and aric had maybe tier 2 or below rides and did as well or better than ragan. Jmo

  5. I think David Ragan may have been a better asset to the organization given his time at Rousch and also a decent year last year. I like Aric but feel badly for Ragan losing a quality ride and now facing even being ride-less...or a start and park? Sad really.....

  6. Anonymous8:53 PM

    Dan from NY can't spell Ragan.

  7. Schreib11:46 PM

    best of luck to Aric in the 43! hopefully he can enjoy a stable ride for awhile to show his talents,as too many of his previous rides have been short lived.too many good drivers available for rides,only a select few are chosen for the rides available.if you're a chosen few,time to race and show your talents!

  8. Anonymous12:53 AM

    The biggest problem with David Ragan might be that whenever he calls people think it's Regan Smith. Joking aside, I don't feel like I've seen anything out of Ragan that makes him a more viable candidate for any of the rides that have been available. Most talk about Ragan ends up being about what was being expected and not what was actually done. Sponsor friendly for sure, but when you look at what he did in Roush equipment, you have to ask yourself what that would mean for the other slots that were available. At Penske, you're talking about a sidestep or a step down in equipment. The other openings would be a step down. With Almirola you've got an unknown situation (will RPM be better or worse next year) that you can match with a driver that has probably found himself a little desperate to get a firm foothold in the top series. You've got promise and potential based on what you've seen him do in NNS and in his Cup opportunites.

    With AJ, you have a driver that will be making a move forward in equipment and organization. This bodes well for a driver that has shown continual improvement.

    Basically, it boils down to asking "if the drivers are equal, what difference should the equipment make?" And it seems Ragan did the least with the most in that regard.

  9. Anonymous12:54 AM

    I was typing on my phone sorry almighty anonymous one.

  10. Brandon in TN8:48 AM

    David Ragan's stats of 182 races with only 1 win, 12 top 5s, and 30 top 10s over a 6 year period kinda paints the picture that he's not the driver everyone thinks he is.