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

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While Smith is in the vehicle for this weekend's All-Star festivities, the team has yet to map out a battle plan for the remainder of Almirola's absence. "And I said, 'Hey, don't forget, Wednesday night is Catwalk for a Cause, so as long as the doctors let me we're still going'".

"That's pretty special. That comes with a lot of weight and you have to respect the fact that that's the organization you're with and I think if there's any pressure that's more where the pressure comes from".

After the impact with Logano sent his auto in the air, Almirola's Ford "violently" hit on the left-side frame rail and the left-side jack post.

When Almirola and Devin's turn to strut - or, in Almirola's case, gingerly step - down the runway came, the crowd of 650 guests and donors' polite clapping turned into a roar of support.

"This fracture is at a higher level than the injuries that Denny sustained or that Tony sustained". Looking back on the crash, he feels there is nothing he could have done differently.


"Everybody is telling me that with this type of fracture it is eight to 12 weeks, so I'm not happy about that", Almirola said. "I've got a lovely family and I want to be able to run around outside and throw the baseball with Alex and I want to go to father-daughter dances with Abby and I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize that". "To have this happen and sort of derail all of the momentum and progress we had made is tough". Regan Smith will drive the #43 Ford this weekend in the Monster Energy Open. "We have a protocol that we go by and having Aric and Janice and all of our thoughts and prayers were first and foremost", said Moffitt.

"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".

Smith has numerous experiences as a replacement driver.

Smith, a 10-year Cup veteran, has not raced in the top NASCAR series this season, though he has competed in four Truck series races. Smith has replaced Stewart, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kyle Larson before this weekend.

He now drives on the Camping World Truck Series for Ricky Benton Racing.

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