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

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

Regan Smith will be the replacement driver for Aric Almirola this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, NASCAR driver Aric Almirola's No. 43 Ford twisted into a fiery contortion in a horrifying crash at the Go Bowling 400 in Kansas.

Almirola was originally airlifted to a nearby hospital at the time of the crash but remained awake and alert throughout the process.

"I'm pretty pissed off about it, to be honest with you", Almirola said.

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

"I immediately knew that they were in my line of path, so my auto was loose into the corner all night anyway, but I was entering the corner, I saw the wreck - was very aware the wreck was there - and I got on the brakes and turned the steering wheel to the left and my vehicle got loose".

"Getting back in a race vehicle two weeks too soon is just gonna add two more starts to my start column and the stat book, but 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, so I'm not gonna risk that", said Almirola. "I've got a lot of baseball to play with my son and I'd like to dance with my daughter one day at her wedding". I looked around and saw I wasn't on fire that the burning sensation in my back was an enormous amount of pain. When I stand up it feels better because it elongates the spine.

"The springs are actually tethered in, but when the auto came back to the garage area, the springs were not upright in the spring buckets, so I'm not 100 percent sure", Almirola said. Like, 'Hey, I get to go out there and be in a Cup vehicle.

Almirola admitted he probably should have avoided the wreck, but he said he went high right as the incident started to unfold. I knew it was coming. Not just any Cup vehicle, I get to be in the No. 43 Petty Cup auto. The standard healing time for the injury is eight to 12 weeks. I'm young. I've got a lot of life ahead of me.

How long will Almirola be out of the auto? "For all relative circumstances, I guess things worked out the best they could". Regan Smith will drive the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in this weekend's Monster Energy Open Race.

"As soon as we know for the future, we'll be letting you guys know that", Moffitt said.

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