Almirola Gives Update, Will Miss 8-12 Weeks

How NASCAR drivers reacted to Saturday's terrifying fiery crash

Richard Petty Motorsports has put Regan Smith in its No. 43 vehicle for the NASCAR Monster Energy All-Star events this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but the team has not determined who will replace Almirola when the regular season resumes next week at Charlotte.

Aric Almirola said he expects to miss 8-12 weeks to recover from a broken back suffered in an accident Saturday at Kansas Speedway. Track workers had to cut the roof off the No. 43 vehicle to safely extricate Almirola, who was then placed on a backboard and airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center. At the moment of impact, Almirola felt a sharp pain in his back; A moment he said "felt like somebody stuck a knife in my back". He saw the cars of Danica Patrick and Joey Logano come up the track abruptly into his lane and into the catch fence.

"I think if Joey's auto would have been 3 feet more down the racetrack and I would have hit him in the door number, that would have been very violent, and I think Joey would have been seriously injured", he said.

"The next thing I knew, I was on oil or water or something because my vehicle wouldn't slow down, it wouldn't steer", Almirola said. "I've got a handsome family and I want to be able to run around outside and throw the baseball with Alex and I want to go to father-daughter dances with Abby and I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize that". When I stand up it feels better because it elongates the spine. "And I said, 'Hey, don't forget, Wednesday night is Catwalk for a Cause, so as long as the doctors let me we're still going'". Once safety personnel arrived, Almirola explained his condition and "they went through all of their proper protocol to get me out of the auto safely without moving my spine and stabilizing my spine".

"I felt like from that point my auto was on railroad tracks and I was just headed straight for the wreck. And I got a really bad burning sensation in my back". "The obvious thing is that the circumstances suck".

After the impact with Logano sent his vehicle in the air, Almirola's Ford "violently" hit on the left-side frame rail and the left-side jack post.

"First off, I want to thank the track safety and medical team, all of the doctors and nurses at The University of Kansas Hospital for taking good care of me", said Almirola.

Almirola said he attempted to avoid the wreck but couldn't due to his vehicle getting in some oil or water, which prevented him from steering it.

While Smith is in the auto for this weekend's All-Star festivities, the team has yet to map out a battle plan for the remainder of Almirola's absence.

"We're still working through that with our partners", Moffitt said, "so as soon as we know for the future, we'll be letting you guys know that".


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