Nearly a week after being caught up in one of the hardest-hitting crashes of the entire season, NASCAR driver Aric Almirola’s future as a driver is becoming a little more clearer.
During the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway, Almirola wrecked hard into Joey Logano and Danica Patrick who had crashed just moments before after a brake rotor blew out on Logano’s car. The following chain reaction forced Almirola’s car up in the air – at this point, the shocks fell out of the rear and the car landed on its chassis with enough g-force to fracture one of Almirola’s vertebrae.
“It didn’t slow down, it didn’t turn, it didn’t do anything,” Almirola revealed about trying to steer away from the accident. “I just slid right into the wreck. There was nothing I could do. It was the most helpless feeling because I saw the wreck. I braced because I knew it was coming and as soon as I made impact with Joey’s car it felt like someone put a knife in my back.”
“And when I went up in the air and came back down it felt like someone took that knife and just twisted it in my back. And I got a really bad burning sensation in my back.”
In a new joint press conference by NASCAR, Richard Petty Motorsports, and held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Almirola and his team explain the recovery and rehabilitation process for him – and lay out their expectations for his return to the track.
“I’m not going to risk it,” he continued. “Whenever the doctors clear me, I’ll be ready.”
Almirola acknowledged that doctors had given him and his team a timeline of between eight and twelve weeks for full healing, but that he still has a chance that the injury might require surgery.
“That’s still no guarantee, though. He said I had a 90 percent chance of healing really quickly with no need for surgery. But 90 percent also means I have a 1 in 10 chance I won’t heal properly and I could need surgery.”
“Really, I’m just supposed to give it a break. I’m doing everything I can do.”
The No. 43 driver will be taking it easy for the next few weeks while he heals on his own, and then move into physical rehabilitation to strengthen the related muscles after that.
Regan Smith will sub for Almirola this weekend during the Monster Energy Open, but he hasn’t been confirmed as a long-term replacement while Almirola is healing.
Watch the video of the press conference below and let us know what you think in the comments.