Before the Sprint Cup started at the Daytona 500, NASCAR was rocked with a severe injury to one of its biggest stars. Kyle Busch suffered a broken left leg and right foot after slamming into a concrete wall during an Xfinity race.
Busch has yet to take the track this season. When he does, NASCAR CEO Brian France will look to make things right with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. France spoke candidly about his thoughts on the situation on Thursday, per Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press.
“Depends on when he comes back of course, but it’ll be more likely than not that we’re going to try to figure out how to accommodate him, which is the beauty of our playoff system,” France said.
“What happened to him was on us. We’ll balance a lot of things at that point when we have to make a decision, but we’re inclined to want to figure that out for sure.”
Those words from France couldn’t be any more true. Busch’s injury wasn’t because of faulty equipment from his team. It had nothing to do with him not being prepared properly for the race.
His broken leg and foot rests solely on the shoulders of NASCAR. If there was a SAFER barrier on that particular wall at Daytona, Busch would still be in a car driving for a championship. Instead, David Ragan has filled in admirably for Gibbs, but doesn’t provide the same star power as Busch does in the No. 18 machine.
The 29-year-old driver shared his thoughts in a press conference at JGR headquarters earlier this month.
“Obviously, I’m not going to say I’m happy about the wall I hit not being protected,” Busch said. “I’m disappointed that that wall was not covered. But I’m encouraged by actions that have been taken to get things going in the right direction.
“We work for the fans. We do everything possible for them, as well as sponsors and everybody involved in the sport. Drivers need to be one of those items at the top of the list. We need tire barriers or SAFER barriers up in the right circumstances.”
Of course, Busch would still have to earn his way into the field. If he’s going to get into the Chase, he’d still need to finish with a victory. The waiver would simply help if he doesn’t finish 30th or better in points.
Depending on when he comes back, making up a huge deficit in an abbreviated season would be nearly impossible. Busch has enjoyed success at road courses and short tracks, so winning a race is a distinct possibility. Thanks to the potential decision from France, seeing Busch in the Chase is, too.
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