NASCAR's Regan Smith replaces injured Almirola in Charlotte

With Aric Almirola recovering from injuries suffered in Saturday's fiery crash at Kansas Speedway, Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday named Regan Smith as a substitute driver for the No. 43 Ford during NASCAR's All-Star weekend. He was immediately air-lifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center where he was diagnosed with the fractured vertebra and held overnight before returning to the Charlotte area on Sunday.

Almirola is scheduled to meet with media Friday morning for an update on his prognosis.

Smith is now driving in the NASCAR truck series. A Cup Series victor in 2012, Smith captured Darlington with Furniture Row Racing and has plenty of experience at the Cup level. He finished third, second and fourth, respectively, as a full-time Xfinity Series driver for JR Motorsports from 2013-2015, collecting five wins during that span.

Three stage winners plus one driver voted by fans will transfer from the Open preliminary event to the All-Star Race Saturday night. He drives their No. 92 along with serving as an analyst on NASCAR Race Hub for Fox Sports.

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" will have live coverage of Saturday's Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, beginning at 5:30 p.m. (ET) - with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.

The victor of the 2000 All-Star Race, Earnhardt revealed his vehicle at a Maaco event in front of the speedway.

Earnhardt has only won the All-Star Race once, and that was 17 years ago, and he's never won a points race in Charlotte.

  • Salvatore Jensen