Aric Almirola is to return to racing with renewed enthusiasm and passion

After being side-lined for eight weeks and missing seven races, Aric Almirola is to make a return to racing this weekend at the Overton’s 300 race. Almirola’s return also comes with a renewed sense of passion and love for driving after he admitted that before he suffered a compound fracture of the T5 vertebra, things had become somewhat monotonous and “routine.”

The incident occurred during the Kansas race back in May. Logano had had a serious problem with his car which was diagnosed with a broken brake motor. He then completely lost control of his car, and there was significant impact between him and Patrick. With sparks flying, Almirola potentially ran over debris which prevented him from turning or braking to avoid Danica and Logano, so he just ploughed right into them at terrifying speeds.

“In the very beginning it was all very new and very exciting and after a while it was just what I did. I got on an airplane on Thursday, flew to the race track and I raced that weekend; we did the best we could and we came home. It got very routine, very monotonous – not that I ever lost my passion or lost my love of racing but it just became sort of routine and I somewhat took it for granted. Then just in a moment it got taken away and you realize ‘Wow I miss it; I love it. I want to go back. I want to race again.’”

Team officials announced that Almirola would return to racing back in the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports after running a closed test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday. Adjustments have also been made to his seat to ensure a better posture for him, which will reduce his risk of damaging his spine in another crash.

“I felt great after the test; we spent four hours at the race track, I ran a lot of laps, a couple of fuel loads. I really had no pain to speak of. I had a little soreness last night, just muscles in my back that haven’t really been used even though I work out and have been exercising.”

With Almirola’s return, many are left wondering what will happen to his latest stand-in driver, Darrell Wallace Jr. With all the announcements coming up about the car and driver changes for 2018, fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that he’ll get a full-time ride in the Monster Energy Cup Series after Roush Fenway Racing terminated the use of Bubba’s No. 6 car for the Xfinity Series.

It’s definitely a relief to have Almirola back where he belongs, especially now that his spark has been reignited. He certainly seems optimistic about making it through to the playoffs. He is currently just outside of the top 30 in the championship driver points standings, and he’d need to be 30th or higher to be eligible. His sights would be set on a race win and he’s also need a waiver from NASCAR given that he hasn’t competed in all of this year’s points races. Commenting about this, Almirola said:

“It’s not out of the question. I’m only a few points out of 30th. I think that’s very doable for us; we’ve run really well at some of these tracks coming up.”