A Florida native of Cuban descent, Almirola was one of the original members of the Joe Gibbs Racing/Reggie White Driver Diversity Program in 2003. He made his first foray into NASCAR® competition in 2004 behind the wheel of a late-model stock car. He spent the next two years winning in late models around North Carolina, becoming a rising star throughout the Southeast.
Joe Gibbs Racing moved him to the NASCAR® Xfinity Series in 2006 to race on a part-time schedule. Almirola proved that he was ready by earning his first career Nationwide Series pole. He remained in the Xfinity Series in 2007 and earned three poles, six top-10, and two top-five finishes. He was also credited with his first win at the Milwaukee Mile, with Denny Hamlin taking over driving duties after arriving late from a Sprint Cup track. That shared victory helped open the door to the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series, when Dale Earnhardt, Inc. inked Almirola to a part-time Cup Series deal in 2008.
Through 2008 and 2009, financial restraints eventually forced Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to shutter the team on which Almirola raced. The rising star found himself moving back full-time to the NASCAR® Camping World Truck Series. Little did he know that it would prove to be an opportunity that paved his way to becoming a NASCAR® winner.
In 2010, racing for Ballew Motorsports in the Truck Series, Almirola earned two wins and finished second in the championship point standings. In addition, he piloted an Xfinity Series car for JR Motorsports in seven events before signing to race full-time with the team in 2011. The ladder he had previously climbed was now more stable and reaching greater heights.
In 2011, Almirola drove to seven top-five and 18 top-10 efforts, in addition to one pole position, en route to a fourth-place finish in the Xfinity Series standings. Again, it was time to move back into the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series. This time, it was “The King” calling, asking Almirola to race the famed No. 43.
Almirola and the No. 43 Ford team have now returned for their fourth season together. With a winning confidence, Almirola is expected to once again be running up front and competing for a championship in 2015 and beyond.
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