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NASCAR World Reacts To The Surprise Retirement News

NASCAR driver on the course.

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 17: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet, races Aric Almirola, driver of the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, during the NASCAR Next Gen Test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 17, 2021 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The NASCAR world learned of some pretty surprising retirement news on Monday afternoon.

Aric Almirola, a 37-year-old driver, announced on Monday that he will be retiring following the 2022 season so he can spend more time with family.

“I truly enjoy driving race cars and I’m excited to race my heart out in 2022 for Smithfield and Stewart-Haas Racing,” Almirola said. “But to be the best in this business, you’ve got to be selfish, and for the last 37 years, my life has always revolved around me and what I needed to do.

“I want to be present. I want to be the best husband and father, and that to me means more than being a race-car driver. So, it’s one more year where I’m all-in on racing, where we’ll do whatever it takes to compete at the highest level. But when the season is over, I’ll be ready to wave goodbye. I’ve loved every minute of it, but it’s time for the next chapter of my life.”

Almirola has two children with his wife, Janice.

The veteran NASCAR driver joined the Cup Series in 2007. He's been with Stewart-Haas Racing since 2018. He previously drove with Richard Petty Motorsports.

NASCAR fans have taken to social media to react.

"Aric, I've been your fan in 2013, the RPM days, I became a fan honestly because your name sounded neat, but i grew to love you as a driver, your first win was magical to me. I kept following you, and growing with you. Through all the highs and lows. I've been there. I hope this year will be a great sendoff for you. I'll miss you dearly, but I respect your decision. You've achieved a lot. I've been here with you every step of the way. From Daytona to Phoenix, I'll be here. Thank you Aric. You're my hero. I'll miss you," one fan wrote.

"Congrats on a great career. 1 more year to get it done," another fan added.

"When I first got into NASCAR, you were the one driver that I began to follow. It has been a great ride. Much love and respect for you decision to be a husband and father. God Bless! I have 8 kids, I know how time can fly by and you do not want to miss those moments!" one fan added.

Best of luck with retirement, Aric!