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NASCAR driver Aric Almirola cleared to return following violent crash at Kansas Speedway

By The Sports Xchange
NASCAR driver Aric Almirola cleared to return following violent crash at Kansas Speedway
NASCAR driver Aric Almirola prepares for his qualifying run at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. File photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

NASCAR driver Aric Almirola has been cleared by doctors to race this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Richard Petty Motorsports announced Wednesday.

Almirola has been sidelined since suffering a T5 compression fracture in his back in a May 13 crash at Kansas Speedway.

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After a test Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway Almirola received approval to return.

"It felt great to be back in the racecar yesterday," Almirola said in a statement. "After racing in the Monster Energy Series for five and a half years, it got to be routine, and I took it for granted. When something gets taken away from you at a moment's notice like that, it has certainly made me appreciate my passion for racing and my desire to compete at this level. The thrill of running 200 miles per hour in a stock car was something that I had honestly lost a little bit. After being out of the car for eight weeks, the passion is back, now more than ever.

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"Physically, I felt great in the car and had no pain associated with the injury during (Tuesday's) test. I'd like to sincerely thank all of the medical personnel that have helped me through this process, my family, my friends, my team and all the fans that supported me. I'm very grateful to Bubba (Wallace), Regan (Smith) and Billy (Johnson) for all of their efforts subbing for me both on and off the track. I'm excited to get back to racing against all my friends and peers in the Monster Energy Series."

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Regan Smith, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Billy Johnson drove the car in Almirola's absence.

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