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Stewart-Haas Racing introduced Aric Almirola as the newest member of its team, and Almirola will replace Danica Patrick in the No. 10 car.

During Almirola’s introductory, SHR co-owner Tony Stewart was asked why they chose Almirola over a younger driver. Stewart said he didn’t want to hire a 16-18-year-old who “didn’t deserve this.”

Related: Tony Stewart said he retired from the Cup Series partly for this reason

While Stewart didn’t call anyone by name, reading between the lines indicates that Stewart was taking a shot at Hendrick Motorsports for hiring 19-year-old William Byron.


Hendrick Motorsports will have Byron, 24-year-old Alex Bowman and 21-year-old Chase Elliott as three of its top drivers next season, and it’s not Stewart’s style to give younger drivers a chance.

Instead, SHR went with the 33-year-old Almirola, who has one Cup Series win in his career. It’s safe to say Stewart will be rooting against the young Hendrick drivers next season.

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