Aric Almirola (43) crashes into Danica Patrick and Joey Logano during the NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

LOUDON, N.H. -- Aric Almirola was back in the No. 43 car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after missing two months of the NASCAR season with a fractured vertebra.
 
Almirola suffered an acute compression fracture to his T5 vertebra — just above the middle of his back — during a fiery multi-car wreck May 13 at Kanas Speedway.
 
 
The final step of his comeback involved a test Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
 
"I ran a lot of laps at Charlotte," he said. "We were there for four hours. I was pretty much in the car a large majority of the time and I felt great inside the car. I don't really foresee any issues. I might have some soreness after the race but I think that is to be expected as far as my doctors are concerned."
 
He has one career Cup win and this season had two top-five finishes.
 
"I would love to sit here and tell you we are going to go out and win this weekend but we have to be realistic and understand where our cars are at," he said. "Right now, it is about getting back to a top-15, top-10 car. If we can do that we will put ourselves in position to strategize and maybe pull a win out."
 
 
Darrell Wallace Jr. became one of the few black NASCAR drivers in the Cup series to race when he filled in for Almirola. He started four races, Regan Smith made two starts and Billy Johnson made one.
 
"In a way, it really opened the box for our team to go try some things," Almirola said. "We sometimes get stuck in a rut and just do the things we have done and get in this little box we have lived in and don't get much outside of that. To have some other drivers come in and not really have points or anything really on the line for those guys and sort of just go at it with an open mind, it was really good."