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Posted by ALF/Carol on 5/19/2017, 12:41 pm
Aric Almirola out at least at eight to 12 weeks with back injury |
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By Daniel McFadinMay 19, 2017, 11:16 AM EDT
CONCORD, N.C. — Aric Almirola could miss eight to 12 weeks recovering from the T5 compression fracture he suffered last Saturday in a crash at Kansas Speedway and will race when he is cleared by his doctors.
Regan Smith is substituting for Almirola in the No. 43 Ford this weekend in the Monster Energy Open. Richard Petty Motorsports did not announce Friday who will drive the No. 43 after this weekend.
“I’m not happy about that,” Almirola said of his time out of the car. “If I get back in the race car two weeks too soon, it’s just going to add two more starts in that column in the stat book. If I were to get in another similar accident and not be properly healed, you’re talking about potentially being paralyzed from the belly button down. I’m not going to risk that, I’ve got a lot of baseball to play with my son and I’d like to dance with my daughter someday at her wedding.”
Almirola suffered the injury in a high-speed collision with the cars of Joey Logano and Danica Patrick during last weekend’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. The race was stopped for nearly 28 minutes so Almirola could be safely removed from the car and transported to a nearby hospital for observation. He was released the next morning.
“As far as the pain, it’s pretty bad,” Almirola said. Who described his pain level at “9.5” right after the wreck. Almirola said he hadn’t taken pain medication in 48 hours. He joked it was in order to “not look drunk” for the press conference.
Almirola said he does not know which part of the accident caused his injury.
After reviewing the wreck, Almirola said he wasAfter two seconds behind it when it began.
“In race car racer terms, that is a long way,” Almirola said, who had committed to the highest lane on the track right as the wreck began.
He braked and turned left to avoid it, got loose and ran through fluids from the wreck, which prevented him from slowing down.
“From that point, I felt I was on railroad tracks,” Almirola said. “There was nothing I could do, I was on ice.”
When he impacted Logano’s car, Almirola instantly felt pain, describing it as being stabbed by a knife. When the No. 43 landed back on all four tires, Almirola described the pain as if the knife was being “twisted up in my back.”
Almirola believes if Logano’s car had been three feet lower on the track, he would have hit him in the door and Lognao would have been “seriously injured.”
On Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he had been told the springs in Almirola’s car were not in place when his car landed back on the track, making the impact harder.
“The springs didn’t actually fall out of the car and disappear, I think they came out of the spring bucket,” Almirola said. “When the car came back to the garage, the springs were not upright in the spring buckets. I’m not 100 percent sure and NASCAR has reviewed the video, the R&D center has and there’s nothing showing the springs are physically helping up the car up impact with Joey’s car.”
Denny Hamlin missed four races (and started but didn’t complete a fifth) after suffering a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra in a 2013 crash at Auto Club Speedway.
Next weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 will be the first Cup points race Almirola has not started since the October 2010 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.