“I hate the circumstances that created this opportunity, but I’m very excited and grateful to have a chance to drive the No. 43 this weekend,” said Smith. “Aric is a friend of mine and his health and a speedy recovery is the most important thing right now. I can’t thank everybody at RPM enough for thinking of me, and I’m excited to represent them and all of their partners.”
Petty Motorsports driver Aric Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 vertebra in Saturday night’s three-car wreck at Kansas Speedway. The driver is mobile, though, and has been released from a Kansas-area hospital.
Almirola was airlifted to the hospital after a Lap 199 incident which saw something break in Joey Logano’s car, sending his No. 22 Ford hard into Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Ford. Both cars smacked the outside wall, and Almirola couldn’t slow and plowed into Logano’s car.
Almirola immediately dropped his window net after the wreck, signaling he was OK, but was extricated from his car and placed onto a headboard. He is scheduled to fly back to North Carolina on Sunday.
The team did not provide an update on how much time, if any, Almirola would miss with the injury and said further updates would be provided provided when available.
Below is the full statement:
“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.”
“We’re definitely on a good run here. The last two weeks have been really good for us. This team has worked hard all season, and we’re finally getting the results to show for it. We hope the momentum continues this weekend at Kansas. I like Kansas and have had fast cars here in the past. We’ve been working hard on our intermediate track program.
“I thought I was right where I wanted to be,” said Almirola. “My car was really good through the middle of the pack, and I didn’t want to get shuffled to the bottom. I was adamant about that, but I thought we had some pretty good runs toward the end. I thought we were going to have a shot at it, but just getting side drafted and stuff, we got stalled out.
Aric Almirola showed speed and driving prowess in the XFINITY race today at Talladega Superspeedway in the Biagi DenBeste Racing No. 98 Fresh From Florida. Almirola started 23rd and in just the first lap, drove into the 16th spot. The middle lane was fruitful for the No. 98 Mustang, and Almirola was able to hold his position with little help. He held the 14th spot for the first caution for fluid on the track.