MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Aric Almirola plans to return to action this weekend after missing two months of the NASCAR season with a fractured vertebra.

Richard Petty Motorsports announced Wednesday that Almirola would be back in the No. 43 car this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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.

Almirola said in a statement that "when something gets taken away from you at a moment's notice like that, it has certainly made me appreciate my passion for racing and my desire to compete at this level."

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