Thursday, December 8, 2022

Lee Cunningham, Rear Changer on Kyle Busch’s Team, Soldiered Through Two Broken Fingers For Runner-Up Finish

Lee Cunningham pit road injury broken fingers Kyle Busch rear tire changer Coca-Cola 600 Charlotte Motor Speedway 2022
Lee Cunningham, the rear tire changer for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team, suffered two broken fingers before the Coca-Cola 600, but kept working all night long en route to the team scoring a second-place finish. Photo Credit: @KellenLMills on Twitter.

We always hear stories of racecar drivers overcoming the odds to score incredible finishes in races. Kyle Busch had an incredible story this past weekend, as he finished second in the Coca-Cola 600 after suffering a spin in the early laps of the race. However, Busch’s story pales in comparison to the story of his rear tire changer Lee Cunningham.

Cunningham, 35, according to the No. 18 team’s jackman Kellen Mills, broke his middle and ring finger on his left hand before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Mills shared a photo of Cunningham before covering his hands with his gloves on pit road.

So, what happened? According to Mills, who replied to another Twitter user, an, “Air bottle cart broke and caught [Cunningham’s] hand on the way down, while we were getting set up pre race.”

Following Mills sharing the photo and story of Cunningham’s gutsy performance, which ultimately led to a second-place finish for Kyle Busch and the No. 18 team, Cunningham joked that of course it had to be the longest race of the year that the injury occurred at.

On a very, very warm afternoon and an extremely long race (longest distance of a race in NASCAR history), Cunningham stood on pit road, with busted fingers and waited for his opportunity to fire onto pit road to bust out fast pit stops for his team. And in the end, he was rewarded with a great finish.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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