Aric Almirola cut out of car, airlifted to hospital after vicious wreck at Kansas

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Aric Almirola was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center for observation after he was involved in a three-car crash in Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. He is awake and alert.

LATEST UPDATE: Almirola suffers compression fracture of back in Kansas crash

PREVIOUS UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports announced early Sunday that Aric Almirola would be kept overnight in a hospital for observation. He is in stable condition.

Danica Patrick and Joey Logano were uninjured in the incident in Turn 2 on Lap 200 of the 267-lap race.

The race was stopped for 27 minutes, 41 seconds while safety and rescue workers cut off the top of Almirola’s Ford Fusion and removed him on a backboard.

Logano’s car suffered a parts failure, which turned him into Patrick’s car, and then turned her into the wall. Almirola couldn’t stop and avoid the cars of Logano and Patrick. Almirola’s impact lifted the rear of the car up a few feet.

“Something broke on my car,” Logano said to Fox Sports 1. “The right front popped and it took a hard laugh. I just hope Aric’s alright. This is the last thing you want to see is a big hit for anyone.

“Everything was fine and it just took a hard one. I’m praying for Aric right now. There’s nothing I could have done.”

Aric Almirola (43) crashes into Danica Patrick and Joey Logano during the NASCAR Cup race at Kansas Speedway. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

The impact between Logano’s and Almirola’s car resulted in a fireball that also enveloped Patrick’s car. Patrick immediately exited her car to get away from the flames.

“I just don’t understand why so much bad luck happens,” Patrick told Fox Sports 1. “Besides that, I feel physically fine.”

“On the other hand, I was having a really good night and that’s what makes me the most mad. Everytime I’m doing better, something stupid happens and it’s just killing me.

“I hope Aric’s okay. He’s definitely feeling the worst of everybody. NASCAR does everything it can to make our cars safe as possible, but things happen.”

 

Matt Kenseth: Brickyard 400 restarts ‘kind of ridiculous’

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Matt Kenseth came close to winning Sunday’s Brickyard 400, but ultimately finished fifth.

Kenseth called the race “kind of ridiculous” down the stretch because of the several restarts that brought about further havoc and wrecks.

Kenseth competed in his final Brickyard 400 for Joe Gibbs Racing. With his future uncertain and whether he’ll be able to continue racing in 2018, could Sunday have been the final Brickyard 400 of his career, much like good friend Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is retiring after this season?

Check out the video above for Kenseth’s comments on the race.

Rick Hendrick on Kasey Kahne’s future: ‘Our plans are not set for the No. 5 car’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Brickyard 400 winner Kasey Kahne has a contract for 2018 at Hendrick Motorsports but possibly doesn’t have a job next season.

Team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed Sunday night that “our plans are not set for the No. 5 car” after Kahne ended a 102-race winless streak in the Cup Series.

“There’s nothing concrete or done, and that hasn’t changed,” Hendrick said. “We’ll see how things shake out the rest of the year.  There’s a lot of things involved, sponsors and a lot of things we look at.  We’re going to try hard.  But there’s no decisions made at this time.”

Kahne felt the 18th victory of his career helped him make a case for staying in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

“I think this shows I still want to win races,” he said. “It shows I gave it all that I can to get a win and shows that I’m passionate about driving stock cars, and that I can still win races, too.

“I have a deal through 2018 with Hendrick Motorsports. I hear a lot of things, but it’s tough to say exactly what’s going to happen. I don’t know at this point and time. I know me and Mr. H will figure it out. I think this shows that I want to be and still have the drive and passion to do it, so I’m going to keep trying hard I know that.”

During a Sunday morning pre-race news conference to formally introduce Alex Bowman as the replacement next season for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick said he planned to run four cars next season but deflected a question about Kahne’s status (“that’s for another day”).

Xfinity Series rookie William Byron, who is under contract to Hendrick, would be an option for the No. 5 Chevrolet, but Hendrick said “we’re not ready to cross that bridge yet” when asked about Byron’s Cup future.

Kahne is ranked 22nd in the points standings with only four top 10s in 20 races this season.

“When you’ve had a rough road, your confidence gets down,” Hendrick said. “He said, ‘I know I can do it. The harder I try, the more it seems like I have this rough bad luck.’

“Something like this (win) can be really good for any guy to have, the whole team, to have confidence.  … All I can say about Kasey is he shows up, he shows up on time, and he shows up on time with his game face on, and he puts in the effort. Sometimes it just takes a break.  But he’s done everything.  I know in his heart he wants to do it.  He’s trying, so … ”

Ryan Newman on Brickyard 400: ‘That’s not racing, just craziness’

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Ryan Newman was in the right place at the right time in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, finishing third.

It was Newman’s second-best finish of 2017 after his win earlier this year at Phoenix.

But Newman, who is never afraid to speak his mind, did just that after Sunday’s race. Even with his strong finish, he echoed the comments of several other drivers that the racing action — particularly restarts — by saying, “That’s not racing, just craziness.”

Check out what Newman had to say in the video above.

Joey Logano’s fourth-place finish is bittersweet as playoff chances dip

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Joey Logano had a bittersweet day in Sunday’s Brickyard 400.

He finished a strong fourth in the incident-filled 24th edition of the Brickyard 400. It was just Logano’s second top-five finish and third top-10 showing in the last 11 races.

But there was also bad news, too.

Kasey Kahne‘s win knocked Logano further back in his bid to rejoin the top-16 drivers eligible for the upcoming NASCAR playoffs. With Clint Bowyer dropping out of the top-16 and Kahne moving into playoff contention, Logano has slipped back to 18th place in the playoff-eligible standings.

As a result, Logano all but has to win one of the next six races to qualify for the playoffs — unless he can point his way in with continued strong top-five finishes.

Logano talked about the situation he faces with NBC Sports after Sunday’s race. Click on the above video to see what he had to say.