Richard Petty Motorsports ended months of speculation Wednesday with the announcement that Aric Almirola will pilot the famed No. 43 Ford for the full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2012. Almirola fills the seat left open when A.J. Allmendinger left the team late last month to replace Kurt Busch in the No. 22 Penske Dodge.
Almirola has made 35 Sprint Cup starts since 2007 with a best finish of fourth at Homestead in 2010. The Tampa, Florida native drove the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to a fourth place finish in the 2011 Nationwide Series point standings.
“I’m very, very excited about this opportunity to not only drive the historic and iconic 43 car, but to work with all the people here at Richard Petty Motorsports," Almirola said.
Allmendinger completed the 2011 season 15th in owner points after capturing one top-five and 10 top-10's in the No. 43.
With time remaining on his contract at JR Motorsports, Almirola said he appreciates the support from Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the team during his transition.
"I had a good home there with Junior Motorsports, but it was important for me to have their support to come and do this," said Almirola. "I talked with Dale and Kelley quite a bit throughout this whole process and they supported me 100 percent.
"I’m very thankful for everything Junior Motorsports has done for me in my career and I’m excited about my new adventure here at Richard Petty Motorsports.”
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