(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) Tony Stewart hired Aric Almirola because he believed the journeyman would win races for Stewart-Haas Racing. Almirola came close time and again this year but fell short.
The boss made sure to keep Almirola's spirits high every chance he got, including a pre-race pep talk Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
"He just keeps telling me, `Calm down, take deep breaths,'" Almirola said. "He's like, `You're going to win, I promise you. The day I told you I was going to hire you, I knew you were going to win races for my company. Put yourself in position, and it will happen.'"