Aric Almirola and William Byron are not going anywhere anytime soon. On Tuesday, the two drivers announced contract extensions that will keep them at Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports beyond the 2021 and 2022 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, respectively.
Almirola enters the 2020 playoffs as the twelfth seed with fourteen top-ten finishes, five top fives, and a best finish of third of three occasions. Although he has not visited Victory Lane since 2018, he has established himself as a solid and clean racer since joining SHR that year. In 342 career Cup races since 2007, he has seventy-five top tens and two victories.
Smithfield Foods, which has sponsored Almirola since his time at Richard Petty Motorsports, will continue to support his #10 Ford for 2021.
“It’s true. I’m back. @SmithfieldBrand’s back,” Almirola tweeted. “2021 will mark 10 years together. And back with the No. 10 team at @StewartHaasRcng. That’s my version of a perfect 10.”
Byron’s new contract comes just two days after scoring his first career Cup win in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona to lock himself into the playoffs. The youngest driver in the Hendrick stable, the 22-year-old has driven the famed #24 for three years, recording twenty-six top tens and seven top fives. Prior to the win, it had been a sluggish 2020 for the youngster as he failed to record a top five until the last two races of the regular season. He is seeded ninth in the playoff grid with nine top tens.
“Hard to believe it’s already been four years since Mr. H took a chance on me,” Byron posted on Twitter in addition to a video confirming his return. “I appreciate all the opportunities he’s given me!”