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NASCAR America: Aric Almirola’s back to racing was wet, bumpy journey

Aric Almirola incorporated swimming into his workout routine in order to recover from a broken back, but the real tests came when he climbed into the racing simulator.

After eight weeks of work and rehab, Aric Almirola will return to the cockpit of the No. 43 Ford this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Almirola has successfully gone through the process of recovering from a T5 compression fracture he suffered in a May crash at Kansas Speedway. In the above video, NASCAR America takes you through the rigorous process the 33-year-old driver went through to return to the track.

“If there is a widget or a gadget out there that claims it will heal you faster, I own it,” Almirola said.

Watch as Almirola swims, exercises and goes through a simulator test in his No. 43 Ford that recreates the pressures of racing at Bristol and Texas Motor Speedway.

All of that was in preparation for his first on-track action since the accident on Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I’ll tell you what was crazy, was leaving pit road just going up through the gears, I went through second, grabbed third and I was like, ‘Crap, I’m flying’,” Almirola said. “You talk about the routine (of racing) you get so used to getting on the race track and going, the speed becomes normal. And when you get out of it a while and you get going 200 mph, you’re like ‘I am flying.’”

Watch the video below for Almirola’s full account of his first time back on-track.