NASCAR's Aric Almirola out 8-12 weeks with broken back


Richard Petty Motorsports and Aric Almirola, who suffered a compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway Saturday night, will host a media availability at Charlotte Motor Speedway to provide an update on his injury and his recovery plan.

"I knew it was coming", Almirola said.

Almirola sustained the injuries during the NASCAR Go Bowling 400 when he collided with Joey Logano's wrecked auto.

"I'm not going to risk that", he said.

"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.

Team executive Brian Moffitt met with Almirola, owner Richard Petty and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer to produce a list of potential fill-in candidates. Almirola made the announcement during his first press conference since sustaining the injury Saturday during the Go Bowling 400. "I can't thank everybody at RPM enough for thinking of me, and I'm excited to represent them and all of their partners".

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Almirola is up and walking, but he does have a crushed vertebrae in his back. I saw it. I braced for the wreck. "I've broken a lot of things and as long as you immobilize it and you can sit on the couch and raise it up, it doesn't really hurt until you get off the couch and all the blood rushes to it and it throbs". I watched the replay and feel like an idiot even being involved in the wreck.

"I immediately knew what happened", he said.

"I was obviously in a very vulnerable situation, and I'm disappointed, to say the least. Whenever the doctors clear me, I'll be ready to get back in a race vehicle". 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". "And I got a really bad burning sensation in my back". Everything happened so fast in the moment, so I was pretty sure how it went down, but not exact of all the details. We have a protocol that we go by and having Aric and Janice and all of our thoughts and prayers were first and foremost.

When his vehicle came to a rest, Almirola said that his adrenaline was so high that he was able to take the window net down and unlock the steering wheel; however, he immediately knew that he wasn't going to be able to climb from the auto without assistance.

In 2012, he filled in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed two races after being diagnosed with a concussion, and in 2014, he replaced Tony Stewart in one event the day after Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a dirt track race. "I've been in wrecks in the (Camping World) Truck Series, the XFINITY Series and the Cup series ... and that one Saturday was by far the most violent".