Aric Almirola says he's close to deal

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Aric Almirola said he is close to a deal that will keep him in the famous No. 43 at Richard Petty Motorsports in 2013 following Sunday's fourth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway.

"I feel like I'm close to getting it done,'' said Almirola, who was given a one-year deal for this year. "I want to be there.''

Sunday's finish equaled Almirola's career best. He was fourth last season in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It is the fourth time in the last five races Almirola has finished inside the top 20, and it would have been five straight had he not crashed last week at Kansas where he led 69 laps.

"Oh, my gosh, I hope so,'' Almirola said when asked if his performance helped solidify his future with RPM.

RPM also is close to finalizing a deal to keep Marcos Ambrose in the No. 9 next season. Team officials said they hope to have everything wrapped up in the next few weeks.