NASCAR

Almirola uncertain about future

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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for FOXSports.com. She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.

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RICHMOND, VA.

Aric Almirola is unclear about his racing plans for 2013.

Almirola, 28, who showed promise as a substitute driver for Richard Petty Motorsports, was hired to pilot the venerable No. 43 Ford this season. Almirola replaced AJ Allmendinger after he left for Penske Racing at the end of last season.

“I’m just working through this,” Almirola said. “Richard (Petty, team owner) and Brian (Moffitt, general manager) got a lot of fires to put out. There are a lot of unanswered questions at our race team right now, and I’m one of those as well.

“I think all in all I’ve learned a lot this year. It hasn’t been exactly the year I was hoping for, but I learned a lot. I wish that we could get all the other stuff figured out so we could get ready for next year. We have a lot of stuff to work on as an organization to figure out which direction we’re going.”

FOXSports.com first reported on Friday that RPM is considering a manufacturer’s change for 2013 that would involve a technical partnership with Richard Childress Racing. RPM switched from Dodge to Fords before the end of the 2009 season.

Almirola finished a career-high fourth in 2010 in the season finale at Homestead after he replaced RPM’s former driver Kasey Kahne. He is 22nd in the point standings in his first full season in Cup. He earned his best finishes of the season at Martinsville (eighth) and Dover (sixth).

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Despite the uncertainty in his professional life, Almirola experienced the joy of his first born Tuesday.

“This whole week, I really haven’t gave a damn,” Almirola said of his job status. “This whole week leading up to getting on the plane to come here, I could have cared less about any of that stuff. I spent three days in the hospital with my wife and new son, and for those three days, that’s all I cared about.

“It’s been real amazing to have your own son and to be able to get down in his face and talk in his ear and for him to open his eyes and look around and look for you and stuff like that. It’s silly stuff like that that you don’t realize when you’re a single guy growing up. For now, to be a dad, I have a whole greater respect for my parents. It’s been a great week. It puts a whole lot of things in life in perspective. This racing stuff is great. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than racing. But it’s just a game. My son is the real deal.”

Tagged: Aric Almirola

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