Think LeBron James in the NBA Championships. Or Tom Brady in last year's Super Bowl. There are certain athletes who not only do well under pressure, but thrive on it and welcome it with a big embrace. Put it all on their shoulders, no problem.
Aric Almirola wants to be known as that type of driver.
"I want the pressure, right? There are two types of athletes in the world," Almirola told motorsport.com. "There's the athletes that just want to be a part of the show and there's athletes who want to make the show. I feel like I'm part of the latter category."
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Almirola made those comments after being announced as the new driver of the #10 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing. He has spent the previous seven NASCAR seasons driving for Richard Petty, and feels like the move to SHR means there will be no excuses if he doesn't succeed.
"I want the ball in my hands when it comes down to the game-winning shot. I don't want to have an excuse that my equipment is not what where it needs to be. This is that opportunity."
Almirola has had a so-so career. Mixed with mild success has been disappointment from both team and driver. In 242 Cup starts, he's managed only one win. SHR, by contrast, has won two Cup titles in the last 6 years. Almirola says he just wants to be in a position where he could take it all.
"I want to contend for wins and championships," Almirola said. "I also want to contribute to this team to help us all perform and contend for championships."