Pit Note No. 2: Almirola, Richard Petty Motorsports Provide Health Update
Richard Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola addressed the media Friday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway to update his condition of the back injury he sustained last weekend during a crash at Kansas Speedway.
"I'm glad to be able to sit here and talk to you all this morning," Almirola said. "I want to thank God. I didn't think I was that lucky, but after talking to all the doctors in Kansas and Charlotte, I realize how lucky I was. I want to thank the good Lord for looking out for me."
Doctors told Almirola - who ranks 23rd in series points with two top-fives and three top-10s in 11 races - that he is likely to be out for two to three months. Almirola, crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, car owner Richard Petty and RPM chief executive officer Brian Moffitt agreed to let Regan Smith drive Almirola's No. 43 Ford Fusion in Saturday's Monster Energy Open.
"This is nothing to mess with," Almirola said of his injury. "I need to take the time and whenever the doctors clear me, I will be ready to get back in the race car."
Almirola also described what happened during the crash that fractured his T5 vertebrae.
"I immediately knew what happened," he said. "My car had been loose all night. I saw the wreck and was very aware the wreck was there. I got on the brakes and turned the steering wheel to the left and my car got loose. The next thing I knew I was on oil, my car wouldn't steer. I watched the replay and feel like an idiot even being involved in the wreck.
"There was honestly nothing I could do. I don't know when I broke my back, whether it was on the hit or the vertical landing. Immediately, when I hit (Joey Logano's) car, it felt like a knife in my back. Then it landed on the left side frame rail. When it came back down, it felt like someone twisted that knife. After looking at the replay, I am very thankful that nothing else happened."