NASCAR: Kurt Busch Withdraws from Playoffs, Leaving Two Spots Open Going Into Daytona

by Bryan Fyalkowski
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Kurt Busch and 23XI Racing have announced that Kurt Busch will withdraw his medical waiver to be eligible for the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs. The 44-year-old is still dealing with the effects of a concussion he suffered during practice at Pocono Raceway last month. That leaves two spots open going into this weekend’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.

“I respect the sport of NASCAR, my fellow drivers and the fans too much to take up a playoff spot if I know I can’t compete for a championship this season,” Busch said in a statement posted on Twitter. “In addition to not being cleared to return to racing, I know that I am not ready to be back in the car.”

Kurt Busch is 1-of-15 winners so far this season. That means his absence from the layoffs will leave the other 14 drivers with an automatic berth. Of those without a victory, Martin Truex, Jr. is set to be the main beneficiary of Busch’s announcement. Currently in 17th place in the standings, Truex now moves up to 16th and into the playoff picture.

Ryan Blaney is the other high-profile driver without a victory this season, but he leads Truex by 25 points. Anything short of a complete disaster by the No. 12 car – along with a new winner other than the No. 19 – on Saturday night would give him a playoff berth.

At Daytona Superspeedway, anything is possible. An upset winner – like Bubba Wallace, Austin Dillon or Aric Almirola – would ruin Truex’s newfound playoff hopes.

Toyota in Full Support of Kurt Busch’s Careful Road to Recovery

David Wilson, the president of Toyota Racing Development U.S.A., also put out a statement regarding Kurt Busch’s health.

“Toyota’s priority for Kurt since the moment the accident took place at Pocono has been his health and recovery,” it read. “T.R.D. has been working directly with Kurt to support him on his recovery journey, but ultimately this decision was Kurt’s and we support him completely.”

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