Kurt Busch Closes in on a Personal Record He Was Hoping to Avoid Breaking

As he heads into his third Sunday away from the NASCAR Cup Series, the bad news for Kurt Busch outweighs the good by as much as a sumo wrestler outweighs a circus acrobat.

It could get even worse next week.

Kurt Busch hasn’t been cleared for the Cup Series race at Michigan

Kurt Busch walks the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2022, in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. | Logan Riely/Getty Images
Kurt Busch walks the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2022, in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. | Logan Riely/Getty Images

The hard hit Kurt Busch took during qualifying at Pocono continues to have implications for him. The NASCAR Cup series veteran will miss his third straight race this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Busch made the announcement on social media on Wednesday.

“While I am continuing to make improvements every day and can’t wait to get back in the No. 45 Monster Energy Camry TRD, I have yet to be cleared to return to competition and will not be participating in the NASCAR Cup Series this weekend at Michigan International Speedway,” he wrote.

Busch added that he is working hard to get back to 100% and hopes to return the following weekend at Richmond Raceway.

Ty Gibbs will slide over from the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series to sit in for Busch with the 23XI Racing team for the third straight race.

Kurt Busch is closing in on a personal record

Kurt Busch has been driving full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2001. He raced full schedules in 17 of his first 21 seasons and missed a total of seven starts over four other seasons.

Three of the missed races came at the start of the 2015 season as the result of a NASCAR suspension after a Delaware court ruled  “more likely than not” that Busch had abused his ex-girlfriend, according to The New York Times.

Should he miss the race at Richmond the week following the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, it will represent a career high for absences in a season by Busch.

He sits only 18th in points but has a victory at Kansas under his belt, which potentially insulates Busch from the increasingly unlikely possibility of missing the playoffs. Because the concussion-like symptoms sidelining him stem from a racing activity, he has an exemption from NASCAR that keeps him eligible for the playoffs.

There’s not much of a precedent to work from, but Busch theoretically could qualify for the playoffs, miss the first two races at Darlington and Kansas, then still transfer into the next round by winning on the Bristol pavement.

As for the possibility of the regular season ending with 17 winners, likely freezing Busch out of the playoffs, the 2004 series champion has at least a little bit of good news on his side: The last nine Michigan winners had won previously during their seasons.

All stats courtesy of Racing Reference.

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