As Kurt Busch continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms, which began following a crash during qualifying at Pocono Raceway on July 23rd, he will officially be out of the race car for the start of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
As a result, Busch and the 23XI Racing team have withdrawn their medical waiver, which was being used to keep Busch eligible for a NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs berth.
“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,” said Busch in a 23XI Racing team release. “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.”
NASCAR issued a statement on Busch’s situation, which read: “Kurt Busch has managed this difficult situation like the champion that he is. Working closely with his doctors, every decision made has been in the best interest of his health, his competitors and the sport. Kurt has NASCAR’s full support as he continues to heal, and we look forward to seeing him return to the race car.
“23XI Racing has informed NASCAR that it is withdrawing Kurt’s medical waiver request. Per the NASCAR rule book, a spot has been made available for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The No. 45 car will continue to compete for the 2022 Owner Championship.”
While Busch, who won at Kansas Speedway back in May, will not compete for a championship this season, his team will welcome him to help guide the No. 23 and No. 45 cars to success in other ways behind the scenes.
“Kurt has elevated our entire organization this year,” said 23XI 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.”
Ty Gibbs, who has served as the fill-in driver for Busch since Pocono, will continue to pilot the No. 45 Toyota Camry TRD in Busch’s place.
With Busch out, this now leaves an extra spot in the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs open. Heading into the weekend, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. will be the two drivers inside the cutline on points.