Aric Almirola Emerges As Feel Good Story of 2018 Playoffs

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 14, 2018 in Talladega, Alabama.

He’s in! Aric Almirola is in NASCAR’s “elite eight” with his win at Talladega. While perhaps the beneficiary of questionable calls or non-calls, it does not matter. This NASCAR everyman is going through to the next round.

Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart gets validation for his belief in Almirola. Though he’s been around for roughly a decade, the Floridian has just two wins to his credit in the Cup series. There’s always been a belief in his talents by those who know, but there just hasn’t been the wins.

To be fair, Aric Almirola couldn’t quite break the logjam at Joe Gibbs Racing. Then there was his turns with fading organizations such as DEI and Richard Petty. Now he has a chance. A real chance. He’s making the most of it.

Yes, one can throw shade on the win because it’s a plate track. Remember Mark Martin calling Talladega a “lottery” race? Fair enough. Look beyond it though. Aric Almirola has tied a career high for top fives, and has easily bested his record for top tens.

Ford and SHR have something going right. It won’t be a surprise to anyone if all four cars in the Stewart-Haas garage make the field of eight. In today’s competitive climate, it says a lot about the nameplate and the team.

Wins at tracks like Talladega may be kind of flukey, but consistently competing- as Aric Almirola has all season- is no fluke. At some time back in the day, someone believed in the Tampa native. Double A has made as steady an ascension as one can make, but he’s there now.

After all the ups and downs of his career, don’t you think he’s enjoying the moment? He won’t be letting go of this anytime soon. For all that NASCAR is not, stories like those of Aric Almirola are why this fan stays with it.