NASCAR Champ Makes Stunning Announcement And Daytona Just Got Even Crazier

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Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch will miss the start of the playoffs as he recovers from lingering symptoms from a concussion he sustained last month.

Busch’s team, 23XI Racing, has withdrawn its request for a medical waiver that would maintain the veteran’s playoff eligibility. That decision effectively removes Busch from the playoffs despite winning at Kansas earlier this season.

“Kurt has elevated our entire organization this year,” said team president, Steve Lauletta. “Although Kurt will not be competing for a championship this season, he will continue to play a vital role in the organization as he works with our competition group to keep improving and strengthening the team.”

Busch, 44, has missed five consecutive races since sustaining the concussion during a qualifying wreck at Pocono. Ty Gibbs, the grandson of Joe Gibbs, has been filling in for Busch and will do so until Busch returns.

Kurt Busch is out of the playoffs and the NASCAR finale at Daytona just got wild. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

“As much as I wanted and hoped to be able to get back in the No. 45 car to make a playoff run with our team, it’s still not the right time for me,” Busch tweeted. “In addition to not being cleared to return to racing, I know that I am not ready to be back in the car. 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.

“The decision was not an easy one, but I know it is the right thing to do. I will continue to take time to heal and strengthen as I prepare to be back in the car and will do all I can to help 23XI continue the success we have had this season.”

Extra playoff spot opens ahead of Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona

Busch’s absence and removal from the postseason now has a major ripple effect throughout the garage.

There are now two spots open in the 16-driver playoff field as the Cup Series heads to Daytona for Saturday’s regular season finale.

Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)


Ryan Blaney continues to hold his playoff spot, but the biggest benefactor of the announcement is Martin Truex Jr.. He goes from 25 points below the playoff cutline to the 16th and final spot.

Of course, those two aren’t anywhere close to safe with Daytona looming. If a first-time winner emerges Saturday, one of those two would be thrown back below the cutline.


Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

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