UPDATE2: Richard Petty Motorsports released another statement at 11:30 a.m. ET to let everyone know Aric Almirola was released from the hospital. He is mobile but has a compression fracture of the T5 vertebra in his back. For those unaware, the T5 vertebra is located in the middle of your spine.
Almirola will be flying back to his home in Mooresville, N.C. today and following up with doctors in Charlotte later this week. No other information was given as to the severity of the fracture and how long before the driver could return to competition.
Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin are the two most recent NASCAR drivers to suffer through back issues (Stewart had a burst fracture, Hamlin a compression fracture). Both were out of their cars and recovering for several weeks.
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports emailed the following statement with an update on Almirola’s condition.
“Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, was involved in a multi-car accident on Lap 199 during Saturday night’s race.
“Almirola was alert after the accident as safety professionals removed him from the car. He was transported by helicopter to a local medical facility for evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be held overnight for further observation.
“Richard Petty Motorsports will provide further updates when appropriate.”
Aric Almirola has been airlifted to a local hospital after a vicious wreck in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway approaching lap 200.
Almirola was the last to pile into a three-car incident which also involved Danica Patrick and Joey Logano. Logano popped either a part or a tire at the end of the frontstretch, his No. 22 Ford at full speed approaching 200 miles an hour. Speculation from sources at the track indicated a right front rotor was warped and then exploded on the car.
Logano’s Ford then turned hard left and went straight into the right rear of Patrick’s No. 10 entering turn 1. That turned Patrick hard on into the outside wall; Logano piled straight into her. Almirola, unable to slow down pile-drived Logano on the high line, lifting his car several feet into the air.
After the incident, Almirola immediately put his window net down. He was conscious, awake, and alert throughout conversations with safety workers but unable to exit the car under his own power. Over a dozen people were needed to cut back the roof and removed him with a backboard; from there, Almirola was airlifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center via helicopter.
Logano and Patrick were OK after the incident. Logano in particular was shaken up emotionally, mentioning multiple times he was “praying for Aric” in a television interview with FOX Sports 1. The Team Penske driver was shown a live replay of the wreck and maintained there was nothing he could do.
NASCAR asked over the radio for all of the pieces from the wreck that were picked up to be brought back to the hauler. All evidence of the wreck is expected to be collected and sent to the sport’s R&D Center.
Stay with Frontstretch for updates as they become available.