Aric Almirola Out 8-12 Weeks with Broken Back Suffered in Fiery Crash

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2017

KANSAS CITY, KS - MAY 13:  Joey Logano, driver of the #22 AAA Insurance Ford, Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Wonder Woman/One Cure Ford, and Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, crash during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 13, 2017 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks after his involvement in a wreck last week at Kansas Speedway.

According to's Bob Pockrass, Almirola suffered a compression fracture of his T5 vertebra, which must heal before he can return.

As seen in the following video of the crash, courtesy of NASCAR on FS1, Almirola went barreling into Joey Logano and Danica Patrick after their cars touched and hit the wall:

Almirola had to be cut from the car and was airlifted to the hospital.

Per Pockrass, Almirola is focused on taking a cautious approach to ensure he is completely healthy before racing again: 

The incentive to make sure that I can run around in my front yard with my kids is enough for me to not rush back. I'm going to listen to the doctors. I'm young. I've got a lot of life ahead of me and I've got a four-year-old and three-year-old at home—I'm not going to do anything to rush myself back in a race car and risk not being able to feel anything from my belly button down for the rest of my life.

With Almirola out of action, Richard Petty Motorsports announced Regan Smith will drive the No. 43 car this weekend during the All-Star festivities, although no decision has been made on a long-term replacement.

Almirola also has a tall mountain to climb in terms of reaching the Cup Series playoffs, as he must win a race, get inside the top 30 in points and receive an injury waiver from NASCAR upon returning.

Kyle Busch received the waiver in 2015 and went on to win the title, but Almirola is currently 23rd in the standings.