Aric Almirola needed to be cut from his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car and carried out on a stretcher following his involvement in a violent three-car crash on Lap 200 of the Go Bowling 400 on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.
The incident began when Logano suddenly broke loose next to Danica Patrick in Turn 2, sending both drivers into the outside retaining wall. They were both racing for 12th at the time of the apparent mechanical failure.
Almirola then barreled into the Logano Ford at near full-speed sending the rear-end of his Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 into the air. The impact resulted in a fireball that caught Patrick’s No. 10 Ford on fire.
Both Logano and Patrick quickly escaped their cars while Almirola put his safety net down to signal that he was awake and alert to safety officials.
Track safety workers cut the roof off of the No. 43 and were able to remove Almirola from the car. The veteran Cup Series driver was complaining of back pain following the accident. He was airlifted to the University of Kansas for further evaluation.
Logano said the whole thing began when something broke on his No. 22.
“Yeah, I’m okay — Just saying a lot of prayers for Aric (Almirola) right now,” he said. “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.”
While also concerned for Almirola, Patrick was also upset because the crashed prematurely ended the best race of her season. She had spent parts of the race inside the top-10 before the incident.
“I kinda felt like Wonder Woman for a little while,” Patrick said of her sponsor for the weekend. “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.”