Once again a driver was seriously injured in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. NASCAR has tried to make the cars as safe as possible, but in the past several years, injuries to Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, and last week, Aric Almirola, NASCAR racing still remains a very dangerous sport. The construction of the race cars has reduced the severity of the injuries, probably preventing death, but back and leg injuries, and concussions have kept drivers out of races following their injuries.
The latest injury occurred last Saturday in Kansas when Almirola piled into a two-car wreck between Joey Logano and Danica Patrick. Almirola was alert after the accident as safety professionals removed him from the car. He was transported by helicopter to a local medical facility for evaluation. Almirola suffered a compression fracture in his back and was released from the hospital Sunday, but will probably be out of racing for several weeks.
The accident occurred on Lap 200 when a brake rotor broke in the right front of Logano’s car, turning him left into Patrick. Patrick took a wicked hit into the wall and Almirola slid into the front of Logano's car at high speed, picking his car off the ground.
Trouble started early for many teams as they had problems getting through tech inspections and did not get a chance to qualify. Eleven teams failed the inspection including three Hendrick Motorsports teams, Johnson, Kahne and Earnhardt Jr.
The race started with Ryan Blaney on the pole and Martin Truex Jr. starting third. With 2 laps to go, Truex streaked away on the final restart and won his second race this year and his ninth overall.
This weekend, NASCAR will showcase this year’s all-star race. Friday evening will have two rounds of qualifying, each with a mandatory pit stop. There is no speed limit entering the pits and can get quite exciting.
Saturday will have qualifying for all the teams not already in the all-star race. These teams will compete in the open race with the winner of each stage advancing to the main all-star race. The fans will also vote one driver into the all-star race.
The race will feature four stages (20 laps / 20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps), totaling 70 laps. The goal for all competitors: Earn a spot in the final 10-lap, 10-car stage. The winner of each of the first three stages will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage. The cars with the best average finish in the first three stages will make up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage.
The winner will be awarded $1 million.