It was one of those crashes that has remained in the minds of NASCAR fans since it happened. It happened in 2017, when driver Aric Almirola was involved in one of the worst crashes of his career at the Kansas Speedway.
And months later, he still can’t get it out of his head.
“In the moment, I felt so helpless,” Aric said in a new FOX interview posted just hours before the running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. “It was so violent. I knew right away that something was wrong.”
Indeed, something was very wrong, as Aric would suffer a serious back injury that would keep him out of the car for a number of weeks. “I was panicked and I was worried. I was just hoping I wasn’t going to be paralyzed,” he said.
Of course, much like any major life event, the crash directly affected Aric’s life off the track as well, as he learned firsthand that the love of family and friends is so important.
“I feel like that’s one of my biggest challenges, putting forth the effort to not only be the best racecar driver I can be, but then try to be the best husband and father I can be too,” he says of that time and its aftermath.
And when it comes to the moment when he will takes the green flag at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, he sounds more confident than ever.
“Honestly, if I didn’t feel like this was going to be the opportunity for me to go and be successful, I would have just called it quits,” Aric said in a recent interview with ESPN. “I’m not chasing money or fame. I honestly don’t care that much about either one of those things. I miss taking my kids to ballet recitals, or soccer or baseball games on the weekends … If I didn’t think I had a chance to go out and be successful, I would obviously think about what’s next in life.”