The Kansas race last weekend for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series was a fiery affair. There were a multitude of wrecks and mishaps from cars. However, none of those were as horrific to watch in comparison to the wreck that destroyed Logano, Danica and Almirola’s cars. Logano and Danica were incredibly lucky to walk away from their mangled bits of metal, but Almirola had to be cut out of his and airlifted to hospital after he was heard complaining of back pain directly after the collision.
It was then confirmed some hours later that Almirola had suffered a compression fracture in the T5 vertebrae. It has not been specified how long Almirola will need to recuperate before his return to driving. He has since been discharged from hospital, and according the Richard Petty Motorsports, Almirola will be attending follow-up appointments with doctors in Charlotte this week. Speaking from experience following a similar injury – Denny Hamlin showed his support for Almirola over Twitter with the following Tweet:
Feel bad for @aric_almirola. What makes this injury even worst is he will feel ready to return to racing before his body will allow him to.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) May 14, 2017
Almirola is competing in his 10th season in the NASCAR Cup Series and his sixth full-time with RPM. He won the 2014 summer race at Daytona International Speedway and has 10 career top-five finishes, including two this season — in the Daytona 500 and Talladega Superspeedway last weekend. Almirola also won the Xfinity Series race at Talladega a week ago. It is also not yet known who will replace him in the meantime. Former no.19 driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, Carl Edwards, was asked. Unfortunately, he declined the offer.
To end on a positive note, NASCAR released a statement showing their intent to look into this incident very carefully – starting with Almirola’s car and the safety features installed within. Scott Miller, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition, said this about Almirola’s car on Monday morning:
“It’s currently at the (NASCAR) R&D Center, and our safety experts will … look for anything that might give us clues or some indication of exactly what the challenge was there with Aric and his back.”
Hopefully there’s still plenty to learn and gain experience from so that NASCAR can continue to make this thrilling but risky motorsport, safer.