Almirola set to get Patrick's Stewart-Haas drive for NASCAR 2018

Outgoing Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola is set to replace Danica Patrick at Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 NASCAR Cup season, Autosport has learned

Almirola set to get Patrick's Stewart-Haas drive for NASCAR 2018

Almirola missed seven rounds of the current season after a nasty crash at Kansas in May and is currently without a drive for next year after his replacement for four of those races, Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr, was announced with RPM last week.

But Almirola is now expected to take over Stewart-Haas' #10 Ford next season in place of Patrick, who announced in September she would not drive for SHR next year in part due to a lack of sponsorship.

SHR issued a media advisory on Thursday stating it would unveil its newest Cup driver next Wednesday at its Kannapolis headquarters.

Sources have confirmed Almirola will be the driver.

SHR officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

A full-time drive with the outfit would provide Almirola with his first chance to compete with one of the series' top-tier teams.

The 33-year-old has made 241 starts in the Cup series since beginning part-time in 2007 with Joe Gibbs Racing, and has been with RPM since 2012.

He has one career victory - achieved with RPM in 2014 - to his name as well as 11 top-five finishes.

In September, Smithfield Foods - long-time sponsor of RPM and Almirola - announced it would move to SHR in 2018, although neither the company or SHR indicated which driver Smithfield would sponsor.

It remains unclear whether Patrick's current #10 team will remain with Almirola next season.

Sources said that decision may not come until after the 2017 season is complete.

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