These three drivers are all expected to return to their respective teams for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, but no formal confirmations have been made.
NASCAR Cup Series silly season for the 2022 season has seen quite a few big announcements, many of which were not expected coming into 2021.
But several drivers who are set to return to their teams for next year haven’t been formally confirmed, though it is not expected that all of them will be back in 2022.
Here are those three drivers, all three of whom have tested the Next Gen car that is set to debut next year.
Drivers who haven’t been formally confirmed: No. 1 – Aric Almirola
When Aric Almirola signed a contract extension in the 2020 season for 2021, the length of the deal wasn’t announced. It was assumed that it was another one-year deal, but Almirola said over the summer that it was a multi-year deal.
Here is what he had to say, according to Toby Christie.
“Yeah, I’ve had a multi-year contract for a while now, so we don’t disclose all the contract terms to all of you [media] guys because all you’d do is ask every year anyway.”
With that being said, there was never any formal confirmation from Stewart-Haas Racing that he is set to be back for what would be a fifth season behind the wheel of the #10 Ford.
What hasn’t been announced is the continuation, or lack thereof, of his long-time partnership with Smithfield, which served as his primary sponsor for 25 of the 36 races on the 2021 schedule.
However, team co-owner Tony Stewart implied that nothing would change in the team’s driver lineup for 2022, something that hasn’t been the case since between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
“We’ve had a history of having long-term relationships,” Stewart told Beyond the Flag this past summer. “We don’t have any plans to make any changes right now. We’re happy with our lineup. We’re happy with our guys.”
Indeed, if a change were to be announced, it likely would have been announced by now, given how the driver departures unfolded each year from 2016 to 2020.
Almirola earned Stewart-Haas Racing their lone victory in 2021 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.