NASCAR's Aric Almirola out 8-12 weeks with broken back

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

Almirola sustained the injuries during the NASCAR Go Bowling 400 when he collided with Joey Logano's wrecked vehicle.

Richard Petty Motorsports announced the change on Wednesday night after the organization's primary driver, Aric Almirola, suffered a compression fracture of his T5 vertebra. No timetable is known for when Almirola may return, nor who will drive the No. 43 vehicle past the All-Star Race.

The wreck was a scary one that resonated across the NASCAR community, as even Dale Earnhardt Jr. commented on the incident in an interview Thursday.

"Getting back in a race auto two weeks too soon is just gonna add two more starts to my start column and the stat book, but if I were to get in another similar accident and not be properly healed, you're talking about potentially being paralyzed from the belly button down, so I'm not gonna risk that", said Almirola.

"I didn't think I was that lucky, but after talking to all the doctors in Kansas and Charlotte I realize how lucky I was", he said.

"I felt like from that point my auto was on railroad tracks and I was just headed straight for the wreck", Almirola said. I saw it. I braced for the wreck.

"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", said Almirola, via ESPN. I knew it was coming.

"Looking back on it and watching the replay, I'm very thankful that that's the only thing that happened in that wreck; that I got a broken back".

"I'm glad to be here, too".

Almirola said Friday he'd stopped taking painkillers 48 hours prior to his news conference in order to sound coherent while discussing his injury.

For the time being, doctors said he can't pick up anything weighing more than five pounds, which is especially troubling for a father of a 3-year old and 4-year-old who are accustomed to spontaneous rides on dad's hip. "I'm going to take some time to relax and recover and do everything necessary to get back in the racecar as soon as possible".

"This fracture is at a higher level than the injuries that Denny sustained or that Tony sustained. I've been in wrecks in the (Camping World) Truck Series, the XFINITY Series and the Cup series ... and that one Saturday was by far the most violent". I can't really separate my shoulders and my hips.

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