Catastrophic crash in Kansas leaves Aric Almirola Hospitalised

Lucy Atkinson

Racing was furious and cautions were aplenty at Kansas Speedway for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 400 Race on Saturday night. So when the 10th caution flag came out for the day, fans, drivers and teams alike were all astounded at what they had just witnessed between the no.22 of Joey Logano, the no.10 of Danica Patrick and the no.43 of Aric Almirola. The wreck that ensued saw only two of the three drivers involved walk away unscathed. Almirola was not that fortunate.

With 68 laps to go in the race, there was some epic racing going on by drivers all across the track and regardless of their positions. Everyone wanted to be higher and higher in the spots to be in with a chance of gaining points, or even winning. No exception to this were Patrick and Logano who were racing in 11th and 12th whilst Almirola was in 23rd. Logano had a serious problem with his car which was diagnosed as a broken brake motor. He then completely lost control of his car, and there was significant impact between him and Patrick. With sparks flying and the pair of them getting into the wall and spinning, Almirola potentially ran over debris which prevented him from turning or braking to avoid Danica and Logano, so he just plowed right into them at terrifying speeds.

All three drivers had their window nets down immediately and Danica was out of her car in a hurry as we saw flames emerge. Logano was next to emerge, but Almirola’s car was soon surrounded by emergency personnel as they undertook the task of cutting him out. Thankfully, Almirola was conscious and engaging in conversation throughout the procedure. He was then placed upon a back board and air lifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center where he was kept overnight for observation. Richard Petty Motorsports released a statement to say that he was in a stable condition.

Logano was interviewed following his release from the Infield Care Center and had this to say:

“I just hope everyone is OK. I hope Aric is all right. That’s the last thing you want to see, a big hit like that for anyone. It’s unfortunate for everyone.”

When asked about whether he’d spoken to Danica about the incident, he replied with:

“I just told here something broke. There’s nothing I could have done. I don’t know what happened. Like I said, something broke and tore up a bunch of really good cars.”

Danica was also interviewed when she was released from the Infield Care Center and her disappointment was clear:

“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.”

It’s frustrating for drivers and their fans when drivers fail to finish, however it’s also worth commenting on how lucky all three drivers were in this wreck and how that’s largely down to the step up in safety requirements that NASCAR requires. The fact that all drivers came away from the incident with their lives is a real testament to safety features both inside and outside the car – from the sturdy driver cockpit and the seat and headrest technology, to the new SAFER barriers around the edge of tracks. Fingers crossed Aric Almirola will make a speedy recovery and that NASCAR can use this incident as further knowledge to continue to improve the safety in this wonderful but risky motorsport.