May 14, 2017 / 6:51 PM / 3 months ago

NASCAR driver Almirola fractures back vertebra in crash

(The Sports Xchange) - NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola was released from hospital on Sunday after fracturing a vertebra in a fiery crash Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.

The Richard Petty Motorsports driver was airlifted to hospital where he remained overnight for observation.

Almirola was conscious and alert after the three-car wreck on lap 200 of the Go Bowling 400 race while being put on a backboard after the roof was cut out of his No. 43 Ford.

Joey Logano and Danica Patrick also were involved in the crash that started when Logano experienced a brake problem that sent him into Patrick's car. Patrick's car caught fire and was hit by Almirola's car.

Logano and Patrick climbed from their cars under their own power and were treated and released from the track's infield care centre. Almirola, though, was cut from his car and placed on a stretcher to be airlifted to the hospital.

Richard Petty Motorsports said in a statement Sunday morning that Almirola suffered a compression fracture to his T5 vertebra -- located in the middle of the back. He is scheduled to fly to his home in North Carolina on Sunday and his driving status is undetermined.

"Almirola is mobile and will follow-up with his doctors in Charlotte," the team statement said.

The 33-year-old Almirola, in his sixth full season in the series driving for Richard Petty Motorsports, is 23rd in the NASCAR Cup standings, 62 points outside the current cutoff for the 16-driver NASCAR playoffs with 17 races left in the regular season.

Almirola has one career win and 10 top-5 finished in 226 career starts, and he won the Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6.

Editing by Andrew Both

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