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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Aric Almirola To Make Return at New Hampshire

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After spending the past eight weeks on the sidelines, Aric Almirola will be back behind the wheel of his familiar No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford this weekend in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Almirola was sidelined after suffering an acute compression fracture to his T5 Vertebra in a crash at Kansas Speedway in May.

While battling for position with 68 laps to go, Joey Logano and Danica Patrick got together ahead of him. Almirola was then unable to slow down and avoid the pair, crashing into both cars with the rear-end of his No. 43 Ford coming off the ground, before landing upright.

“After racing in the Monster Energy Series for five and a half years, it got to be routine, and I took it for granted,” Almirola said. “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.”

Through the eight-week recovery process, the 33-year-old did physical therapy, swam, and tested in the simulator, before taking part in an on-track session at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday.

“Physically, I felt great in the car and had no pain associated with the injury during yesterday’s test,” he said. “I’d like to sincerely thank all of the medical personnel that has 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.”

Before the injury, Almirola had scored two top-fives, and three top-10’s in 11 races this season. He has competed at New Hampshire on 13 previous occasions, scoring two top-10 finishes.

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Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.