Accident and injury behind him, Aric Almirola relishes return to Kansas

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You couldn’t blame Aric Almirola if he had mixed feelings about returning to the spring race at Kansas Speedway, but in a new ride, with improving results, the driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford isn’t looking back.

Last May at the 1.5-mile speedway, Almirola got by far the worst of a brutal crash that also involved Joey Logano and Danica Patrick. Almirola missed seven races because of a compression fracture of his T5 vertebra.

Nevertheless, he doesn’t find it hard to put the wreck out of his mind.

“I don’t think it’s difficult at all,” Almirola said. “I show up to the race track every weekend and just go and focus on trying to get my car handling the way I want it to and fast and ready to go race for that weekend. Every weekend is a different challenge, because it’s a different track, but I never really let my mind drift back to that place, if you will.

“When I came back here in the fall (last year), it was probably a little bit more top of mind coming back here just a few months after breaking my back here in May. But then to go through that weekend, and we ran really well and I think we finished ninth, so to come back here and kind of get somewhat of redemption on the race track and sort of put that to bed and come here and run as well as we did and run top 10, I think it’s a non-issue.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.