Aric Almirola suffers compression fracture of back in Kansas crash, team says

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Aric Almirola suffered a T5 compression fracture in his wreck Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed in a release Sunday morning. Almirola was released from the hospital and will fly back today to his home in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Almirola was described as “mobile” in the team’s release and is able to walk. He was moving when safety workers placed him on a stretcher after the crash.

A team spokesperson said there is no timeline for Almirola’s recovery. The team hasn’t determined a plan for Saturday’s All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin missed four races (and started but didn’t complete a fifth) after suffering a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra in a 2013 crash at Auto Club Speedway.

Almirola’s No. 43 Ford slid into a high-speed collision with the cars of Joey Logano and Danica Patrick during the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center after safety workers cut the roof off his car to help with extrication.

Logano said something broke on his No. 22 Ford that caused him to veer right into the left-rear fender of Patrick’s No. 10 Ford.

NASCAR drivers reacted with an outpouring of well wishes since last night on Twitter.

Almirola entered Kansas off his best race weekend of the season, having won the Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway and finished a season-best fourth in the Cup race the following day (a result that was affected by a penalty from NASCAR).

Almirola has driven full time for RPM in NASCAR’s premier series since 2012. He made the 2014 playoffs on a win at Daytona International Speedway.

Here’s the release from the team about Almirola’s injury:

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – (May 14, 2017) – Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, has been released from a local Kansas hospital and will fly back to his home in Mooresville, N.C. today.

Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway Saturday night.  Almirola is mobile and will follow-up with his doctors in Charlotte.

Richard Petty Motorsports will provide further updates when available.

 

NASCAR Open starting lineup at Bristol

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Michael McDowell will start on the pole for the NASCAR Open at Bristol Motor Speedway after a random draw. Aric Almirola joins him on the front row.

Click here for NASCAR Open starting lineup

The winners of each segment advance to the All-Star Race, along with the fan vote winner. Last year, Kyle Larson won a segment in the Open to advance to the All-Star Race and then won that event. Other segment winners last year were William Byron and Bubba Wallace. Alex Bowman advanced through the fan vote a year ago. Bowman has already qualified for this year’s All-Star Race.

 

NASCAR Open at Bristol 

Race Time: 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)

Length: 85 laps over three segments, 45.3 miles

Segments: Segment 1 is 35 laps. Segment 2 is 35 laps. Segment 3 is 15 laps.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Texas (200 laps, 300 miles), 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Saturday at Texas (167 laps, 250.5 miles) 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Martin Truex Jr. to start on pole for All-Star Race at Bristol

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Martin Truex Jr., who is seeking his first All-Star Race win, will start on the pole for Wednesday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway after a random draw.

Truex will be joined on the front row by Alex Bowman.

Rookie Cole Custer, who earned a spot in the All-Star Race with his win Sunday at Kentucky, will start eighth.

Click here for All-Star Lineup

  • Positions 17-19 will go to segment winners from the NASCAR Open. The 20th starting spot goes to the fan vote winner, which will be announced after the NASCAR Open

Among the special rules for the race:

# The Chose Rule will be used. As drivers approach a designated spot on the track, they must commit to the inside or outside lane for the restart.

# The car number will move from the door toward the rear wheel to give sponsors more exposure.

# Cars that have automatically qualified for the All-Star Race will have underglow lights on their cars.

 

NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol 

Race Time: 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)

Length: 140 laps over four segments, 74.6 miles

Segments: Segment 1 is 55 laps. Segment 2 is 35 laps. Segment 3 is 35 laps. Segment 4 is 15 laps (only green flag laps count in this segment).

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Saturday at Texas (200 laps, 300 miles), 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Next Truck race: Saturday at Texas (167 laps, 250.5 miles) 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Xfinity playoff grid after Kentucky doubleheader

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The Xfinity Series went to Kentucky Speedway for a doubleheader and Austin Cindric left the track with two wins and a spot in the playoffs.

Cindric, who claimed the first oval track NASCAR wins of his career, is now third on the playoff grid among the six drivers locked into the postseason. He has 15 playoff points.

Noah Gragson, who is second on the grid, won three of four stages in Kentucky and has 18 playoff points.

Six spots remain to be filled on the playoff grid. The last two drivers currently in the top 12 are Ryan Sieg (+57 points above cutline) and Brandon Brown (+14).

The first four drivers outside the top 12 are Myatt Snider (-14 points from cutline), Jeremy Clements (-30), Alex Labbe (-42) and Jesse Little (-47).

Cup playoff grid after Kentucky Speedway

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Cole Custer delivered the first curveball to the NASCAR Cup Series’ playoff chase Sunday when he won at Kentucky Speedway.

Custer entered the race 25th in the points, nine spots back from the cutoff line for 16-driver field.

Now, Custer is one of nine drivers locked into the playoffs, meaning the cutoff for the postseason is 15th in points.

Among those currently in the playoff grid who are not locked in, the last two are William Byron (+30 points) and Jimmie Johnson (+24).

The first four drivers sitting outside a playoff spot are Austin Dillon (-24 points from cutoff), Tyler Reddick (-41), Erik Jones (-42) and Bubba Wallace (-84).