Broken back expected to keep Aric Almirola sidelined 8-12 weeks

Regan Smith: Regan Smith in #43 for Almirola at Charlotte

Richard Petty Motorsports and Aric Almirola, who suffered a compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra after a multi-car accident at Kansas Speedway Saturday night, will host a media availability at Charlotte Motor Speedway to provide an update on his injury and his recovery plan.

Almirola fractured a vertebra in a crash Saturday night at Kansas Speedway and could miss up to three months of the NASCAR season.

Aric Almirola needed to be cut from his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series vehicle and carried out on a stretcher following his involvement in a violent three-car crash on Lap 200 of the Go Bowling 400 on.

"It didn't slow down, it didn't turn, it didn't do anything", Almirola said.

The driver of the No. 43 auto spoke to the media for the first time since the wreck - which involved Joey Logano and Danica Patrick, who were not injured - and detailed what was going through his mind when he slammed into their cars. "Whenever the doctors clear me, I'll be ready to get back in a race vehicle".

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"The doctors told me just be careful and don't let anybody give me a hug and all that kind of thing", Almirola said. "I've got a lot of baseball to play with my son and I'd like to dance with my daughter one day at her wedding, so I'm not gonna risk it". I feel like an idiot even being involved in the wreck. That's most important to me. "I've got a broken back, and one of my vertabra is crushed in half", he said, dryly. I want to thank our doctors in Charlotte, Dr. Once safety personnel arrived, Almirola explained his condition and "they went through all of their proper protocol to get me out of the auto safely without moving my spine and stabilizing my spine". I knew it was coming.

Almirola is scheduled to be out of the auto for eight to 12 weeks.

Almirola said he attempted to avoid the wreck but couldn't due to his auto getting in some oil or water, which prevented him from steering it. "For all relative circumstances, I guess things worked out the best they could". "It felt like I was on railroad tracks and I was headed straight for the wreck".

"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".

"The process that we had was when we got back to North Carolina the King and (crew chief) Drew (Blickensderfer) and Aric and I sat down and came up with a list of people after we knew what the diagnosis was and we're still working through that with our partners. As soon as we know for the future we'll be letting you guys know that, but right now we're thrilled that Regan's going to be in the auto for this weekend". Regan Smith will drive the No. 43 Smithfield Ford in this weekend's Monster Energy Open Race.

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