The famed #43 NASCAR of Richard Petty Motorsports will be driven by Aric Almirola in 2012. Almirola’s status as the new driver of the #43 car is the last event in a merry go round started by the mutual separation of Kurt Busch and Penske Racing. AJ Allmendinger who drove the #43 last season then moved to Penske while Busch is set to drive the #51 for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch.
Last year Almirola raced in the Nationwide Series driving the #88 Chevrolet of JR Motorsports to a fourth place finish in the final driver standings.
The 27 year old Almirola last raced at the Sprint Cup level in 2010 when RPM hired him to drive the #9 car after the release of Kasey Kahne.During that five race span his best finish was a fourth place at Homestead.
Smithfield Foods is set to act as the primary sponsor in a majority of the 36 races on the Sprint Cup schedule. Almirola will join Marcos Ambrose at RPM who will continue their partnership with Ford Racing. Roush Fenway Racing will again supply the team with cars and engines will come from Roush Yates again.
Almirola has run 35 events at the Sprint Cup level. He finished second in the 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings after winning two races.