Kurt Busch stepping away from full-time NASCAR Cup racing

Ku busch

Video Ku busch

Las Vegas — Kurt Busch, who continues to recover from a concussion suffered in July, will sit out the rest of this season and said Saturday he won’t race full-time in Cup next year.

“I know I’m not 100% capable of going out there and competing at the highest level in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Busch said in a statement he read. “These are the best of the best drivers and I haven’t been feeling my best lately.”

but busch doesn’t retire, leaving open the option to compete in the future.

“I’ll be back 100%, I promise,” said busch.

Busch, 44, has been sidelined with a concussion since a July 23 crash at Pocono Speedway. He and Alex Bowman continue to miss races this season due to concussions. NASCAR will make changes to the rear end of the cars for next season to address rear impacts, like the ones that injured Busch and Bowman.

busch explained on Saturday what he experienced and why he is not ready to compete yet.

“primarily vestibular movements,” said busch, referring to the vestibular system located within the inner ear that responds to movement and contributes to balance, equilibrium, and maintenance of a stable visual field.

“so, with head movements and torso movements with my elevated heart rate, that’s when things move fast in my periphery… so (it would be) like looking in the mirror, and then back to the windshield and around the competitors, scanning the dash as if things were moving fast. and things are slowing down. things are coming back to me. I just know I’m not 100%, so the vestibular side is really where I focus with my concussion.”

as for where he is in everyday life, busch said, “everyday life is 90-95%.”

Busch, a Las Vegas native, made his announcement at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In attendance were co-owner Denny Hamlin, his teammate Bubba Wallace and Toyota Racing President of Development David Wilson.

“Kurt’s decision to step away from NASCAR Cup Series competition full-time next year is certainly not something anyone expected when we kicked off the season together and celebrated in victory lane at the Speedway in Kansas earlier this year,” Wilson said in a statement.

“Unfortunate circumstances led kurt to make a difficult decision, but we know he will continue to contribute to the entire program at toyota, trd and 23xi racing. He brings a wealth of knowledge and first-hand championship experience to his team and to his fellow Toyota competitors. We are here to support Kurt in this next chapter of his career and we look forward to continuing to work alongside him.”

said nascar president steve phelps in a statement: “for more than two decades, we have had the privilege of watching kurt busch compete. he has proven himself a champion on the race track, but perhaps just as important, he has grown to become a true ambassador of the sport. Kurt’s drive to improve the future of motorsports has set him apart. we are delighted that he remains in our sport as a trusted resource and leader. Kurt’s unrivaled passion for racing gives us hope that we will see him in a race car again.”

busch said he’s not sure which way to go. he said that he will speak to fox sports this weekend. he has previously done broadcast work for that network. hamlin said he will field a third car for whatever race busch wants once he is healthy. hamlin also stated that busch has a home with 23xi racing.

“I told Kurt, in this decision, never feel like you owe the team anything. If anything, the team owes you something,” Hamlin said.

“We don’t know exactly what his future is and his exact role with our team, we just know that we want him back and we want to find something that’s really good for him.”

although there is another driver in the cup with the same last name, younger brother kyle, there is no one quite like kurt busch.

Busch’s tenure in NASCAR has been marked by immense talent and a temperament that nearly derailed his career a decade ago. in his recent full-time cup seasons, he has become a statesman for the sport and a mentor to young drivers.

busch’s career is worthy of being enshrined in the future hall of fame. he won the 2004 championship, the first year the title was determined by a postseason rather than a season format. this would have been his fourth year in the playoffs, but he gave up the spot due to his injury.

busch also has 34 cup victories, including at least one in each of the past nine seasons. He was victorious in the 2017 Daytona 500 and the 2010 Coca-Cola 600. Busch has won a race in 19 of the 22 cup seasons in which he was a full-time driver.

busch has earned 161 top-five finishes and 339 top-10 finishes in 776 career cup starts. he is ranked 12th on the all-time cup start list.

busch made his cup debut in 2000 at age 21, finishing 18th in the fall race at dover. he started seven races that year before moving to cup full-time in 2001 after just one season in the truck series.

— Kurt Busch (@kurtbusch) October 15, 2022

Related Articles

Back to top button