Carl Edwards is not a possible substitute driver for Aric Almirola.
According to Fox Sports, Richard Petty Motorsports reached out to Edwards about driving the No. 43 car while Almirola recovers from a fractured vertebra suffered Saturday night at Kansas. Edwards told Fox that while he was honored that the team asked him to fill in, he wasn’t able to be the replacement driver.
— Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) May 15, 2017
The roof had to be peeled back on Almirola’s car to get him out of the vehicle after he was involved in a three-car crash with Joey Logano and Danica Patrick. He suffered a compression fracture to the T5 vertebra in his middle back and a timeline for any potential absence from the Cup Series has not been announced. Almirola was taken to a Kansas City-area hospital Saturday night and was discharged and flew home Sunday morning.
Edwards, who was laps away from his first championship in 2016 before he crashed following a restart, abruptly left the Cup Series in January and was replaced in the No. 19 at Joe Gibbs Racing by Daniel Suarez. Edwards has steadfastly refused to call his departure a retirement and even said he brought his driving suit to the second race of the season at Atlanta — where he was to offer advice to Suarez — just in case.
Given Edwards’ ties to Ford — he used to drive for Roush Fenway Racing — RPM asking him was a no-brainer. He’s the best available driver and there would be far fewer logistical concerns than if the team found a driver from another team or series. You can’t blame RPM for doing its due diligence, and we’ll find out soon enough who the replacement(s) will be for Almirola if he’s out for an extended period of time.
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