Aric Almirola Named Driver No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado Joe Gibbs Racing Development Driver to Run for 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year Mooresville, NC - Aric Almirola, development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, has...
Aric Almirola Named Driver No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado
Joe Gibbs Racing Development Driver to Run for 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year
Mooresville, NC - Aric Almirola, development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, has been named the driver the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado fielded by Spears Motorsports for the 2006 season. The 21 year-old driver from Tampa, FL will run for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) Rookie of the Year title in the Chevrolet factory supported Silverado under the guidance of veteran crew chief Dave McCarty.
Almirola, in his third season for the Joe Gibbs/Reggie White Drive for Diversity Program, competed regionally in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series in 2004 and 2005 capturing 10 victories in late model competition. In 2005, Almirola made four NCTS starts scoring two top-10 finishes.
Spears Motorsports, owned and operated by Southern California irrigation valve manufacturer Wayne Spears and his wife Connie, has been a Chevrolet mainstay in the NCTS since the series' 1995 inception. The couple founded their first racing team at the old Saugus Speedway northeast of Los Angeles and moved to NASCAR touring series competition with the creation of the AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series in 1986. During the team's long, successful history, the Spears' have fielded such drivers as Ron Hornaday Jr., Kevin Harvick, Bill Sedgwick, Roman Calczynski and David Starr.
"I am extremely excited to be driving the No. 75 Spears Motorsports Silverado, said Almirola. "I had the opportunity to meet Wayne Spears. He is a super competitor, a very nice person and races to win. He has a great program that really has its act together. Dave McCarty has won several NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races and puts a competitive truck on the track every weekend. My goal is to go in there and continue to learn from Dave and the crew, get up on the wheel and keep on going with the success they have had over the years."
"We are excited to have a talented young driver like Aric in our No. 75 Silverado," said team owner Wayne Spears. "We believe the combination of a veteran crew chief and an eager rookie will produce great results this season. This is a tremendous opportunity for Spears Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. We believe that extending their driver development program though Spears Motorsports, will help provide the experience necessary to advance their careers while at the same time expanding Spears Motorsports with beneficial technical support."
"It is very exciting that JD (Gibbs) and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing has worked with Spears Motorsports and put this program together for me," continued Almirola. "I am thankful for what they have done and continue to do for my career. Last year was a great stepping-stone for my career to have the opportunity to run with four races with I want to thank them for the opportunity to learn from them which I know helped speed up my learning curve. I plan on taking that experience and applying it to this season. My goal is to continue to climb through the learning curve and go out there and compete for race wins. I am looking forward to Daytona test and my first experience on a superspeedway. I am excited for opportunity to learn as much as I can while we are there."
Almirola concluded by saying, "My goal from the time I started racing was to get to NASCAR Cup racing. The past two years with the JGR program have helped me tremendously in that effort. Driving the No. 75 and having the opportunity to learn from a winning organization will continue to help work toward my goal."
JGR, one of the most successful organizations in NASCAR with three NEXTEL Cup championships to their credit, formed the diversity program in partnership with the late NFL Hall of Fame defensive end, Reggie White. Almirola is the first driver from the program created to identify and assist young drivers with the desire and talent to make a career in motorsports to show enough potential to graduate to one of NASCAR's major series.
"Wayne Spears has assembled a first-class program in which we think Aric can be very competitive," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Wayne and his racing team. They are without question a premier team in the NCTS. Wayne is a true racer and we feel that our entire JGR organization will benefit from this partnership.
"We have enjoyed watching Aric mature as a race car driver over the last two years, and seeing everything come together by having him run full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is very fulfilling. The support we've received from our sponsors and General Motors while working with Aric has been key to giving him this opportunity.
The 2005 season will mark the third year for Chevrolet Team Silverado in the NCTS. Under the direction of Dayne Pierantoni, the GM Racing Silverado program culminated a successful 2005 season winning the NCTS Manufacturers' Championship for the sixth time, winning the most races of any manufacturer, had five Silverado teams in the season-ending owners' point standings and Dennis Setzer finished second in the drivers' standings, just 55 points out of the top-spot.
"Aric has proven his talent behind the wheel of a race truck," said Pierantoni. "We are pleased to have him full time in 2006 competing for the NCTS Rookie of the Year title in a Chevrolet Silverado. Spears Motorsports has a strong track record of fielding competitive trucks every race. We are looking forward to a successful season for Aric, Spears Motorsports and our Silverado program."
Chevrolet Team Silverado kicks off the 2006 NCTS season Friday, January 13, 2006 for three days of testing at Daytona International Speedway.