‘I’m not ready’: Kurt Busch to miss fourth NASCAR Cup Series race with brain injury

·2 min read

Kurt Busch will not make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend in Richmond.

The driver of the No. 45 car, who has missed the last three weekends of racing after sustaining a concussion during qualifying at Pocono Raceway on July 23, shared the news via his Twitter.

“Brain injury recovery doesn’t always take a linear path,” the 44-year-old driver wrote. “I’ve been feeling well in my recovery, but this week I pushed to get my heart rate and body in a race simulation type environment, and it’s clear I’m not ready to be back in the race car.”

He continued: “This was by far the hardest week emotionally because I do feel the progression of recovery, but racing requires an extreme physical and mental effort, and my body is not 100% able to sustain the intense race conditions.”

Ty Gibbs celebrates winning the New Holland 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Ty Gibbs celebrates winning the New Holland 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series auto race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Ty Gibbs, the grandson of Joe Gibbs who owns Joe Gibbs Racing, will race in Busch’s stead again at Richmond Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400, Busch said.

“I am making progress and pushing hard each day,” he wrote. “I am encouraged by my team of doctors, and we will continue to do everything it takes to get me to 100% to return to competition.”

Busch has notched one win in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series regular season — keeping him, for the moment, in the 16-car playoff field.

But his absence the last three races has delivered him the lowest point-total of everyone else in the playoff field. And if two other drivers earn a win in the season’s final three races — pushing the number of drivers with a win to 17, something unprecedented in NASCAR history — Busch is likely out of the field.

Sunday’s Cup race takes place at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on USA.