NASCAR's Regan Smith replaces injured Almirola in Charlotte

NASCAR's Regan Smith replaces injured Almirola in Charlotte

I think if Joey's vehicle would have been three feet more down the race track and I would have hit him in the door number, that would have been very violent and I think Joey would have been seriously injured.

RPM has tabbed Regan Smith to drive the No. 43 Ford this weekend in the Monster Energy All-Star Race but no decision has been made abut the future while Almirola is out.

Smith, a one-time teammate of Almirola at now-defunct Dale Earnhardt Inc., and veteran of 211 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, has been tabbed as a substitute before, notably replacing Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen in 2014 the night after Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward a sprint auto race.

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

"The doctors told me just be careful and don't let anybody give me a hug and all that kind of thing", Almirola said.

"I'm not going to risk that", he said. "From that moment on I felt like I was on railroad tracks". That's most important to me.

Almirola suffered a compression fracture of his T5 vertebra, just above the middle of his back.

"That's why I dropped the window net so fast and took the steering wheel off", he said. I braced for the wreck and immediately when I hit Joey's (Logano) vehicle I felt pain in my back.

"I've been very moved and touched by the amount of people who have reached out and come by to visit and expressed their concerns and cares", Almirola said.

"If I sit for too long, I've got to stand up".

"From the time I was eight years old, all I ever wanted to do was race", continued Almirola. "And I got a really bad burning sensation in my back".

Richard Petty Motorsports indicated Friday morning that it does not have definitive long-term plans for replacing Almirola in the No. 43 Ford. "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". "The obvious thing is that the circumstances suck. 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". I can't really separate my shoulders and my hips.

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