Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Almirola Airlifted to Hospital after Vicious Kansas Crash

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

Kansas Speedway is not normally a track known for its vicious crashes, but with 67 laps to go in Saturday night’s Go Bowling 400, a three-car crash involving Joey Logano, Danica Patrick, and Aric Almirola, would bring out the red flag as safety officials worked to extricate Almirola from his car.

Entering Turn 1 on lap 200, Logano appeared to have something break on the right-front of his car, which turned his Ford to the left, making contact with the right-rear of Patrick’s car and hooking her head-on into the outside wall. With a shower of sparks and a fireball after the heavy contact between the two, Almirola, who was running about 10 positions behind Logano and Patrick, couldn’t get slowed up in time and plowed into Logano’s car, standing his No. 43 car up on the nose before settling back down on the track and coming to rest against the outside wall.

Both Logano and Patrick would be able to get out of their respective cars under their own power, but after dropping his window net to alert NASCAR officials that he was awake and alert, an armada of track safety workers would surround his car and would wind up cutting his roof to get him out of the car.

Almirola was placed on a backboard to get him out of the car safely before being placed on a stretcher and taken to the Infield Care Center. After being evaluated at the track, Almirola, who was awake and alert, was airlifted to a local hospital for further observation.

A statement from Richard Petty Motorsports at 1:30 am Sunday noted that Almirola was “in stable condition and will be held overnight for further observation.”

“I’m okay,” said Logano. “Just saying a lot of prayers for Aric (Almirola) right now. A lot of us took a hard hit. Something broke on my car, I don’t know what it was. I noticed it as I was trying to go in. I tried to back it off but you’re going 215 (mph) and it’s hard to check up. The car just took a bit step sideways into the corner and I hooked Danica (Patrick). I haven’t seen a replay yet, I don’t know what happened. You can see the right-front popped (right there) and it popped. I just hope everyone is okay. I hope Aric is alright. That’s the last thing you want to see, a big hit like that for anyone. It’s unfortunate for everyone. Let’s hope that Aric is alright.”

“We were having a really good race and having fun out there and had a lot of speed,” said Patrick. “I kinda felt like Wonder Woman for a little while. All I know is that I all of a sudden crashed. I definitely had a feeling it was the 22 and I am sure that the doctors in the medical center checking my neurological abilities are glad to know I was right that it was Joey. When he said he had a failure I can’t say it made me feel that much better in the moment. I am just frustrated for the lack of breaks I get. It seems like every time things are going better and something happens I get crashed or am in a crash. Especially a place like this, a brake rotor, when we are using 200-300 pounds of pressure seems odd.”

“Unfortunately there were two of us that got collected and while I am okay, one of these times one if these really big accidents someone is not going to be okay. Aric (Almirola) is not okay and his car looked the best of everybody. You never know when it is going to be the wrong hit. I have a team that works hard and put another car on the track and I hope we are saving up for a really good run of good luck.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.