during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 11, 2017 in Brooklyn, Michigan.

NASCAR driver takes offense at notion of playing out the string

If you want to get NASCAR driver Aric Almirola riled up, just ask him about his "lame-duck" status for the last two races with Richard Petty Motorsports.

"I think you said that, I didn't say that," Almirola told motorsportstribune.com. "I'm a professional. I go out and I want to compete. It doesn't matter to me what the circumstances are, if there's money on the line, or if there's a trophy. I'm a competitor and it doesn't matter if we're playing a game of monopoly at home or if we're at the racetrack on Sunday trying to compete to win a race."

RELATED: Stewart-Haas makes major sponsor-driver announcement

Almirola was officially named on Wednesday to the #10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 season, ending his seven-year relationship with RPM. That fact, he says, doesn't mean he's content to just play out the string.

"I'm a competitor. It's not in me to just go out and cruise around. I have known about this announcement for a few weeks now," said Almirola. "I went and ran top-five at Talladega, top-10 at Kansas, and we finished 15th last week at Texas. I haven't laid down at all and neither have the guys on our team on the 43 car."

Almirola's 2017 season has been one of frustration and disappointment. From poor performance to the back injury that kept him sidelined for eight weeks. Of late, he's been running well, with three top-10 finishes. And though he's not racing for a Cup title, it doesn't mean he can't play the role of spoiler.

"I'll still show up to the track at Phoenix and Homestead with my head down and ready to go race."