With Bayne on standby, Busch family anticipating birth of second child

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With Bayne on standby, Busch family anticipating birth of second child
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DARLINGTON, S.C. — Kyle Busch was all about the task at hand Saturday at Darlington Raceway, putting his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota a solid fifth on the starting grid for Sunday’s Goodyear 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM). But that day of work came alongside some added perspective, with a major life moment on the way.

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Busch’s JGR team has Trevor Bayne on site at the 1.366-mile track as a reserve driver this weekend, in the event Busch and his family need to depart for the arrival of their second child. The organization confirmed that arrangement Friday, and Bayne would be available for stand-in duty next weekend at Kansas Speedway as well, should the surrogate carrying Kyle and Samantha Busch’s baby go into labor.

“I think it’s always a hard decision,” Busch said, “but I think you can live down missing a race, but you’ll never live down not being there for the birth of your kid.”

Those words come ahead of race day falling on Mother’s Day for Sunday’s 400-miler, and Busch spoke about the family’s anticipation for 6-year-old Brexton Busch becoming a big brother.

“Samantha kind of said it a little while back where her not being able to carry and her not being the one pregnant,” Busch said, “she feels like the husband in a pregnancy because she’s not feeling the changes, she’s not going through the internal things that you get while being pregnant. And so if she’s the husband, I guess I’m the next step down from that, whatever that is, I’m not sure. But you know, just a bit removed, although still planning and doing the stuff around the house and getting ready. I’ve asked her now two weeks in a row like, ‘are we ready? Are we ready?’ Like I feel like we’re ready. We’re ready. Yeah. So I think we’re ready.”

Busch spent part of his post-practice debrief bringing Bayne up to speed — “just giving him all the information I could about what I was feeling so he’d be more prepared in the instance we need him,” he said.

Busch said he was not part of the decision-making process in lining up Bayne as a backup. The 31-year-old driver and 2011 Daytona 500 winner last drove in the Cup Series in 2018 in a partial season for car owner Jack Roush, but has competed in three Xfinity Series races in JGR’s No. 18 entry this season — winning a pole and logging two top-five finishes.