Aric Almirola addresses his crash, injury and prognosis

Aric Almirola spoke to the media Friday morning at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Here are some highlights of what he said:

— Due to his broken T5 vertebra, Almirola said he is likely out for eight to 12 weeks. That would put a possible return in mid-July to early August. Almirola said his doctors told him he could be paralyzed from his belly button downward if he rushed back too soon and injured himself further. “I’ve got a lot of baseball to play with my son and I want to dance with my daughter at her wedding,” Almirola said. “I’m not going to risk it.”

— Almirola remains in constant pain and is very uncomfortable. “Nothing alleviates the pain,” he said, and sleeping is very difficult. The pain in his back started immediately when he made contact with Joey Logano’s car — “it felt like somebody stuck a knife in my back” — and when the car came back down and landed from the rear wheels getting airborne, “it felt like somebody took that knife and twisted it in my back.” Still, Almirola said he “realized how fortunate I was” not to be injured worse.

— There were two seconds between the Logano/Danica Patrick crash and Almirola’s impact. Almirola acknowledged that was a “long way” and said “I should have missed the wreck.” But Almirola was committed to the top lane, and when he tried to turn and avoid the crash, his car either hit oil or water. “My car wouldn’t slow down, it wouldn’t steer,” he said. “It felt like I was on railroad tracks and I was headed straight for the wreck. … I feel like an idiot even being involved in the wreck. But there was honestly nothing I could do. It was like it was on ice.”

— Almirola blasted the photographers who snapped pictures of him while he was being taken out of the car. “I’m pretty pissed off about it, to be honest with you,” he said. “I think that is extremely unprofessional. They had no idea was what wrong with me. They didn’t know if I was paralyzed or anything. They were literally three feet away with their shutters running wide open the entire time. … I was obviously in a very vulnerable situation, and I’m disappointed, to say the least. They didn’t know if my legs were going to be attached, they didn’t know any of that.”

— Due to the pain, Almirola said he initially had an “intense burning sensation” in his back — and that’s why he dropped the window net right away. “I thought I was on fire,” he said. “I got my window net down based on pure adrenaline. When I extended my hands out in front of me (to take the wheel off), I knew I kind of had a problem and it took my breath away.”

— In addition, Richard Petty Motorsports executive Brian Moffitt said the team’s plans for a substitute driver beyond the All-Star Race (where Regan Smith will drive) are yet to be determined. “(We) came up with a list of people and we’re still working through that with our partners,” he said. “Right now, we’re thrilled Regan is going to be in the car for this weekend.”


5 Replies to “Aric Almirola addresses his crash, injury and prognosis”

  1. I agree with him on the photos and refused to retweet that or post it on Facebook. It was very disrespectful for them to do that.

  2. Aric is involved in a sport that has injuries. All sports show injured players.

    The guy snapping pictures wasn’t showing them live. If Aric was very seriously injured the photos would have never been published.

  3. I can’t get behind his statements about the photographers. I know it’s a sensitive situation, but those photographers are there to be journalists and capture what’s going on. To call them unprofessional is literally contrary to what they’re there to do. It’s their profession to document the event. I understand the argument about being respectful, but there’s a responsibility on the photographers’ part to impartially capture events as they happen.

  4. If people want NASCAR to be like other sports, and drivers want to be respected as athletes, then they should be using the same journalistic standards. Period.

    He is in a sport. Their job is to document it. The photographer waited until reported he was stable and alert. Aside from that, tons of drivers have had injured legs (I didn’t hear anyone blasting the photos of Kyle in pain with two broken legs), including one who lost his legs. Not only were those photos published, he used them and released private track video (quite gruesome) showing his bones, for an ESPN documentary.

    You can’t decide that you only want to participate in half the sport when it suits you.

    And I’m betting if the safety crew had screwed up and paralyzed him, he’d be grateful for someone having photographic evidence of negligence.

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