NASCAR fans have probably noticed a more active social media presence from Aric Almirola since the first of the year, and he has been especially active on Twitter in recent weeks.
The 2017 season was a difficult one for many reasons for Almirola, and he didn't have much to say on social media. He suffered a devastating injury during the season that sidelined him for many races, and his tenure at Richard Petty Motorsports came to an end following the conclusion of the season.
Almirola told ESPN's Bob Pockrass that he made the decision to avoid social media because he received so many hateful messages from "fans."
"I came to the point to where I was like, 'I'm done, I'm checking out.' People are writing me nasty things, like death threat," Almirola said.
Some of the comments were along the lines of "I can't believe Richard Petty lets you drive this car. ... You're horrible. ... If he's not going to take you out of the car, I will. I will come down to North Carolina and do it myself."
Now, Almirola has a new team at Stewart-Haas Racing, and he has a new ride in the No. 10 Ford Fusion. It's a fresh start for him, and he's made an effort to have more of a presence on social media.
Part of the reason why he's back on Twitter is to promote his new sponsors, but he seems to be enjoying himself more than he did in the past.
"It has been somewhat liberating, to be honest," Almirola said. "But now, new team and trying to make sure we get the sponsors as much bang for their buck and as much exposure as we can. ... this has been a great avenue for us."
Almirola has one career Cup Series win, and he will look to add more to his resume as he starts the 2018 with his new team.