Concussed NASCAR champion Kurt Busch to step away from sport



NASCAR champion Kurt Busch will miss the remainder of this season with a concussion and won’t compete full-time in 2023.

The 44-year-old made his announcement Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his residence observe and the place he launched his profession on the bullring as a baby. He choked up when he stated docs informed him “it’s best for me to `shut it down.”‘

“I do know I’m not 100% in my skill to exit and race on the high degree within the NASCAR Cup Series,” Busch stated. “These are the perfect of the perfect drivers, and these days, I have never felt my greatest.”

Busch stated Tyler Reddick will change him within the No. 45 Toyota at 23XI Racing subsequent season. Reddick was signed to the group for the 2024 season, however is not wanted to full his contract at Richard Childress Racing as a result of RCR signed Kyle Busch, Kurt’s youthful brother and a two-time Cup champion, for subsequent season.

“If I’m cleared, perhaps you may see me at a couple of choose races” subsequent season, Busch stated.

Busch was injured in a routine crash in July that uncovered a design flaw in NASCAR’s new Next Gen automotive. He’s to this point missed 13 consecutive races. Driver Alex Bowman, who was additionally injured this 12 months, has missed two straight and stated this week he’ll be out no less than three extra.

Busch is the final energetic driver who competed in a Cup race towards the late Dale Earnhardt, and the final driver who was a part of the inaugural 10-driver Chase for the Cup in 2004, the 12 months he upset the Hendrick Motorsports juggernaut and gained his solely title.

Busch’s retirement leaves Kevin Harvick because the final energetic driver who raced when NASCAR’s high collection was known as the Winston Cup Series.

23XI praised Busch’s contributions to the second-year group.

“From the day Kurt Busch joined our group, we knew he was going to elevate our group in some ways,” the group stated. “From incomes 23XI our first playoff berth together with his commanding win at Kansas Speedway to quite a few hours spent off the observe serving to to develop our program, Kurt has made us higher.

“This season took an sudden flip together with his harm. Despite the unlucky circumstances, Kurt has not stopped being a real skilled and a trusted teammate. We totally assist Kurt’s determination to give attention to his well being and are grateful for his steering as our group builds a robust basis for the longer term.”

He’s in his second season with 23XI Racing and group co-owner Denny Hamlin stated the group and Toyota need Busch to stay a part of the group. He’s below contract by subsequent season to 23XI.

“Kurt’s determination to step away from full-time NASCAR Cup Series competitors subsequent 12 months is actually not one thing anybody anticipated after we began the season collectively and celebrated in victory lane at Kansas Speedway earlier this 12 months,” stated David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development

“Unfortunate circumstances led Kurt to a tough determination, however we all know that he’ll proceed to contribute to all the program at Toyota, TRD and 23XI Racing. He brings an incredible quantity of information and firsthand championship expertise to his group and fellow Toyota rivals. We’re right here to assist Kurt on this subsequent chapter of his profession and look ahead to persevering with to work alongside him.”

Busch made his Cup debut in 2000 with Roush Racing in a Ford, then ran the complete season as a rookie in 2001. He was fired after 5 tumultuous seasons with Roush — a stint that included his 2004 title — and moved to Team Penske to drive a Dodge in 2006.

His Penske relationship additionally ended poorly after the 2011 season and Busch moved to Phoenix Racing to drive a Chevrolet for James Finch for one season, then went to Furniture Row Racing in 2013 the place he revitalized his profession — and commenced to present maturity on and off the observe together with his infamous mood.

Busch moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 and was suspended by NASCAR for the primary three races of 2015 for home violence allegations made by an ex-girlfriend. He later landed with Chip Ganassi Racing and at last 23XI to drive a Toyota in 2021.

He is among the uncommon drivers to compete in all of NASCAR’s producers. Busch and his brother be a part of Bobby and Terry Labonte as the one siblings to win Cup titles.

Busch gained 34 races in 776 begins over 23 years, together with the Daytona 500 in 2017 with SHR and sponsor Monster, which has remained with him to this present day.

“For greater than 20 years, we’ve got been privileged to watch Kurt Busch compete. He has confirmed himself a champion on the racetrack, however maybe simply as importantly, he has grown to grow to be a real ambassador for the sport,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps stated. “Kurt’s drive to enhance the way forward for motorsports has set him aside. We are thrilled that he’ll stay in our sport as a pacesetter and trusted useful resource. Kurt’s unparalleled ardour for racing provides us hope that we’ll see him in a race automotive once more.”


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