Aric Almirola

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.

 

Joey Logano says part failure caused crash; requests ‘Everyone pray for Aric’ Almirola

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Joey Logano said a part failure caused the crash that sent Aric Almirola to the hospital in a violent wreck Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.

Logano lost control of his No. 22 Ford, hitting Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet in the left rear. Patrick’s car spun into a fiery crash against the outside wall. Almirola’s No. 43 Ford spun into the aftermath of the crash, going briefly airborne as it made contact with both cars.

“I’m OK, I’m just saying prayers for Aric right now,” Logano told FS1 outside the track’s care center. “A lot of us took a hard hit. Something broke on my car. I don’t know what it was. I noticed it as I was going in (the turn). I tried to back off, but you’re going 215 (mph).

“It’s hard to check up. The car just took a big step sideways into the corner. I hooked Danica, and I don’t know what happened.”

The Team Penske driver then watched a replay of the crash.

“Oh my God,” he said. “Just out of nowhere. Everything was fine, then it just took a hard (hit).

“Everyone pray for Aric right now.”

After being cleared from the care center, Patrick also expressed concern for the Richard Petty Motorsports driver.

“I hope Aric’s OK,” said Patrick, who was eliminated by a wreck for the second consecutive race. “He definitely is feeling the worst of everybody. NASCAR has done everything they can to make our cars as safe as possible, but things happen. And his car looked the least damaged of all of ours.

“That’s what I said before I walked out, one of these times these accidents aren’t going to go good for me. They all are big. I’ve been very fortunate so far. One of these times it’s not going to go well.”

Aric Almirola says car failed Laser Inspection Station by less than thickness of a credit card

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A miniscule measurement likely will mean a hefty penalty for the Richard Petty Motorsports team of Aric Almirola.

After finishing fourth Sunday at Talladega Superpeedway, Almirola’s No. 43 Ford failed the Laser Inspection Station.

Almirola told NBCSN’s Marty Snider that the infraction was 0.01 of an inch beyond the tolerance.

“It’s less than the thickness of a credit card, but it’s the rules,” Almirola said. “We’ve seen other teams penalized for the same thing, so we’re not being singled out. NASCAR is making clear they have rules, and we have to play within the rules.

“As a driver and race team, we have to push the boundaries and have to push it right to the ragged edge because all our competition is. If we just built a car well within the measurements and tolerances, we’d run 30th every week. That’s the reality of it. All the teams push every thousandth of an inch that they can get. You have to to keep up.”

The standard penalty for an LIS failure has been a $65,000 fine, 35-point deduction and three-race suspension for a crew chief. Team Penske lost its final appeal of an LIS penalty Tuesday.

Almirola, who earned his second top five of the season Sunday, said his team hadn’t received confirmation of a penalty yet from NASCAR and didn’t know if it would appeal if so.

“I don’t have a lot of details on where we’ll go from here,” he said. “We have an idea (of a potential penalty) based on other teams, but we’ll wait and take it as it comes.”

Watch the full interview with Almirola on NASCAR America on NBCSN from 5:30-6:30 p.m. today.

Two multi-car wrecks involving 30 cars bring out red flags early in Xfinity race at Daytona

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Saturday’s Xfinity Series season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 has been red-flagged twice in less than the first 30 laps.

The first red flag was the result of a major wreck that involved 18 cars. The pack was on Lap 23 of the scheduled 120-lap event when several drivers made contact, setting off a chain reaction crash.

Among those involved in the wreck were Cole Custer, Garrett Smithley, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Ray Black Jr., Jeff Green, William Byron, Blake Koch, J.J. Yeley, Ryan Reed, Brad Keselowski, Spencer Gallagher, Ryan Sieg, Tyler Reddick, Anthony Kumpen, Benny Gordon, Scott Lagasse Jr., Jeremy Clements, Clint King and Aric Almirola.

The first red flag lasted 18 minutes, 20 seconds.

The race went back to green flag racing on Lap 28 when yet another multi-car wreck – this time 12 cars – took place one lap later on the back straightaway, bringing out the red flag once again.

The second wreck occurred one lap before the scheduled end of the first of two stages in the race.

Drivers involved in the second wreck included Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Erik Jones, Chris Cockrum, Harrison Rhodes, Brandon Hightower, Matt Tifft, Blake Koch and Ryan Reed.

The second red flag lasted 27 minutes, 51 seconds.

When the racing resumed following the second wreck, of the 40 cars that began the race, only Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong, Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, Kasey Kahne, Mario Gosselin and David Starr had not been involved in wrecks.

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Aric Almirola wins by a nose in Friday’s Xfinity race at Daytona

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You might call it a cautionary win of sorts for Aric Almirola in Friday’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

A multi-car wreck behind him on Lap 103 – three laps past the scheduled finish – froze the field under caution with NASCAR ruling Almirola was ahead of runner-up Justin Allgaier.

“Yeah baby, we’re going to victory lane tonight,” Almirola said on his radio once NASCAR officials – after about five minutes of video review – awarded him the narrow win.

It was Almirola’s first Xfinity Series win since 2007 at Milwaukee (he started the race and was given credit for the win, even though Denny Hamlin took over and was in the car when it crossed the finish line), his first Xfinity win at Daytona and also his first win of any type since winning the rain-shortened 2014 Coke Zero Sprint Cup race at Daytona.

Making Friday night’s win more special for Almirola is that he grew up about 120 miles away in Tampa, Florida.

“This is so cool,” Almirola said to NBCSN in victory lane. “God, I’m so glad to be back in victory lane here at Daytona. This is such a special place for me.”

HOW ALMIROLA WON: Almirola and Justin Allgaier put on a thrilling run to the finish. However, the GWC finished short, as an eight-car wreck prompted NASCAR to throw the caution, freezing the field and awarding the win to Almirola, who was less than a nose ahead of Allgaier when the caution light flashed.

WHO ALSO HAD A GOOD RACE: Allgaier made a late surge to get back to the front and had there not been the wreck on the final lap, freezing the field, the outcome could have been reversed.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Due primarily to being involved in wrecks, among those with rough days included Joe Nemechek, Justin Marks, Ryan Preece, Daniel Suarez, Maro Gosselin, Brandon Jones, Corey LaJoie, Austin Dillon, David Starr and Brennan Poole.

NOTABLE: David Ragan looked like he was headed to the win before being shuffled back and then involved in the wreck that ended the race. Ragan was a replacement driver for Matt Tifft, who underwent successful surgery earlier in the evening to remove a tumor on his brain.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When you lose ‘em by that little bit, it definitely is frustrating. When you can be disappointed with second, though, it’s still a good day.” – Justin Allgaier.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Alsco 300, July 8, at Kentucky Speedway.