Veteran Regan Smith will fill in for the injured Aric Almirola this weekend in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Smith will pilot the No. 43 in the Monster Energy Open at Charlotte, and if he wins one of the three stages of the race, Smith will advance to the main event at CMS, the Monster Energy All-Star Race.
The three stage winners in the Open, along with a Fan Vote winner will advance to the all-star race and fill out the 20-car field.
Almirola suffered a compression fracture of his T5 vertebra in a hard crash Saturday night during the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway.
The incident, which brought out a caution on Lap 201 of the 267-lap race, began in Turn 1, when a right-front brake rotor appeared to fail on Joey Logano’s Team Penske Ford as he and Danica Patrick were racing for 11th place.
Logano’s Ford veered left into Patrick’s car putting it into the wall. Almirola was about 10 cars behind but was unable to stop and hit Logano at a high rate of speed.
Rescue workers had to cut the roof and windshield off of Almirola’s No. 43 RPM Ford to extricate him from the car. He was airlifted to a local hospital where he spent the night before returning home to Mooresville, N.C. on Sunday.
Earlier this week, Almirola met with doctors to get his injury evaluated.
Friday morning at 11 a.m. at the track, Almirola will meet with the media for an update on his progress and prognosis.
At CMS, Almirola will be accompanied by Brian Moffitt, the CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, and William Heisel PA-C, Director of OrthoCarolina Motorsports.
gallery: Wild photos from fiery crash at Kansas Speedway