NASCAR's Regan Smith replaces injured Almirola in Charlotte

by Leon Thompson May 20, 2017, 0:50
NASCAR's Regan Smith replaces injured Almirola in Charlotte

Richard Petty Motorsports named Regan Smith to drive its No. 43 auto Wednesday for the injured Aric Almirola in the All-Star Race preliminary event Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

CONCORD, N.C. - Aric Almirola knew immediately following his horrendous crash at Kansas Speedway that he had a spinal injury, but the NASCAR driver said Friday he didn't realize the severity of his broken back until he talked with doctors and learned he would be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks. The top of Almirola's vehicle had to be cut away for him to be removed from the auto and airlifted to the hospital.

Almirola said his father was a firefighter and he had learned from him that it was important to keep one's spine stable if one felt neck or back pain in an accident.

Joey Logano and Danica Patrick also were involved in the crash that started when Logano experienced a brake problem that sent him into Patrick's auto.

The driver of the No. 43 auto spoke to the media for the first time since the wreck - which involved Joey Logano and Danica Patrick, who were not injured - and detailed what was going through his mind when he slammed into their cars.

"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".

Here are the 8 most eye-opening things Almirola said in a 30-minute media session.

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"I think the incentive to make sure that I can run around in my front yard with my kids is enough for me to not rush back".

"They used it as an opportunity to go and take some pictures of me", Almirola said. I'm not going to risk it.

Almirola knew that the wreck was coming and braced for impact.

Heisel said the vertebra was "crunched" and they needed to get some of the blood out of the bone. "The obvious thing is that the circumstances suck".

How long will Almirola be out of the vehicle?

"I felt like from that point my auto was on railroad tracks and I was just headed straight for the wreck". "The process that we had was when we got back to North Carolina the King and Drew and Aric and I sat down and came up with a list of people after we knew what the diagnosis was and we're still working through that with our partners". Smith received a call from RPM on Wednesday morning asking if he would be able to drive the auto this weekend. "As soon as we know for the future we'll be letting you guys know that, but right now we're thrilled that Regan's going to be in the auto for this weekend".


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