Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Regan Smith Will Drive The 43 At Charlotte

Regan Smith Will Drive The 43 At Charlotte

Regan Smith will be the replacement driver for Aric Almirola this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Almirola spent Saturday night in a hospital after fracturing a vertebra during a fiery wreck at Kansas Speedway.

In the three-car Kansas crash on lap 200 of the Go Bowling 400 race, Almirola was conscious and alert while being put on a backboard after the roof was cut out of his auto.

Almirola said his father was a firefighter and he had learned from him that it was important to keep one's spine stable if one felt neck or back pain in an accident.

Almirola explained what happened in the crash that also involved Joey Logano and Danica Patrick.

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

"In the meantime, for this weekend, we'll do him proud and work hard to get his race auto up front and do what he would normally do with it".

"For me, I think the most challenging part is never getting comfort or relief", Almirola said.

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"I think 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". "For the most part, I'm OK. I've got a broken back, and one of my vertebra is crushed in half", Almirola told the Observer.

"I'm not going to risk that", he said. "But right now we're thrilled that Regan's going to be in the vehicle for this weekend".

"We had already met Devin a few weeks ago", said Almirola.

"I appreciate to get the call", Smith said.

"I felt like from that point my vehicle was on railroad tracks and I was just headed straight for the wreck", Almirola said. I braced for the wreck and immediately when I hit Joey's (Logano) auto I felt pain in my back.

Almirola said he attempted to avoid the wreck but couldn't due to his auto getting in some oil or water, which prevented him from steering it. When it came back down it felt like somebody took that knife and just twisted it up in my back. "Being out 8-12 weeks and not having a chance at the Playoffs, obviously that stinks, especially coming off Talladega".

On Wednesday, Smith was asked to campaign at the Cup level again - behind the wheel of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. A week later, he was hospitalized overnight in Kansas before flying home to North Carolina to receive another diagnosis.

"We're still working through that with our partners", Moffitt said, "so as soon as we know for the future, we'll be letting you guys know that".

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