Aric Almirola recently announced that he will be retiring from racing at the end of the 2022 season. This will put Stewart-Haas Racing on high alert to find a new driver for the No. 10 Ford.
After 14 seasons at the sport’s top tier, Almirola announced that this season will be his 15th and final season. This is also the driver’s fifth year as the driver of No. 10 Ford for SHR, having replaced Danica Patrick ahead of the 2018 season.
This opens up possibilities for other riders to grab the seat of the No. 10 Ford for the 2023 season. Here are the possible drivers who can replace him.
One of the drivers who will be in close contact with the team and a good guess to replace Almirola is Ryan Preece. He recently signed a deal to become the official Stewart-Haas Racing reserve driver for the 2022 season. He will also be competing in two Cup Series races, three Xfinity Series races and seven Truck Series races this season. So, he will be in good shape to replace Almirola next season.
Given SHR’s recent tendency to promote drivers from Xfinity series, as seen with drivers Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe, there is a good chance that they will keep up this tendency. In that case, Riley Herbst has a good shot of replacing Almirola. But the difference between the previously promoted riders and Herbst is that both Custer and Briscoe won a lot of races and made an appearance in Championship 4 before promotion. If Herbst can repeat their feat, he will have better chances to make the jump to Cup Series.
One driver who can make SHR look elsewhere than the organization is Matt DiBenedetto. While the driver is not in a good shape in his career, having recently lost his place with Wood Brothers Racing and unable to find a spot in the Cup Series, he will certainly be looking to get his career back on track with good performances in his full-time Truck Series ride with Rackley WAR. While he hasn’t won much in his career but on the positive side, he will bring seven years of experience in the Cup Series and who knows driving for a top team could unlock his potential.