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NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch Quits Sports After Concussion



LAS VEGAS – Kurt Busch, still trying to get over the concussion he suffered three months ago and was advised by doctors to quit racing, will not compete full-time in 2023.

44 years old NASCAR announced his champion Saturday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his hometown racetrack and where he began his bullfighting career as a child. He choked up when he said doctors had told him “it’s best for me to ‘turn it off’.”

“I knew I wasn’t 100 per cent qualified to go out and race at the highest level in the NASCAR Cup Series,” Busch said. “These are the best drivers, and lately, I’m not feeling the best. My long-term health is the number one priority and I don’t feel committed at this point to competing for the title next year is in my best interest or the best interest of the team.”

Tyler Reddick will replace Busch at number 45 Toyota at 23XI Racing next season. Reddick was signed to the team in 2024 but is no longer needed to fulfill his contract at Richard Childress Racing as RCR has signed Kyle Busch, Kurt’s younger brother and two-time Cup champion , for next season.

“I promise to return 100%,” Busch said. “If I get through, maybe you’ll see me in a few select races” next season.

Reddick said the circumstances surrounding his early release from RCR were not ideal but was happy to start with his new team. Reddick will be teammates with Bubba Wallace.

“Race is a big challenge, competition is a challenge,” said Reddick. “I will accept it and take on any challenge that comes my way. But for me, I’m really excited to start the journey with (23XI) a year early and we can start working. “

Busch was injured in a routine crash in July. exposed a design flaw in NASCAR’s new Next Gen vehicle. So far, he has missed 13 races in a row. Alex Bowman, who was also injured last month, missed two in a row because of the concussion and said this week he will be in at least three more races.

Busch was the last active driver to compete in a Cup race with the late Dale Earnhardt, and the last driver to enter Chase’s first 10-driver race for the Cup in 2004, the year he did it. Hendrick Motorsports racers defeat and win his only title.

Busch’s retirement makes Kevin Harvick the last active driver to race when NASCAR’s flagship series is known as the Winston Cup Series.

23XI praises Busch’s contributions to the sophomore team.

“We knew he would elevate our organization in many ways,” the team said. we are better.

“This season has taken an unexpected turn with his injury. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Kurt remained a true professional and a reliable teammate. We fully support Kurt’s decision to focus on health and are grateful for his guidance as our team builds a strong foundation for the future. “

He is in his second season with 23XI Racing and team co-owner Denny Hamlin said the organization and Toyota want Busch to remain part of the team. He has a contract until the 23XI until the end of next season.

David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, said: “Unfortunate circumstances brought Kurt to a difficult decision, but we know that he will continue to contribute to the entire program at Toyota, TRD and 23XI Racing. . and experience the championship firsthand for his team and other Toyota competitors. We are here to support Kurt in this next chapter of his career and look forward to continuing to work with him. “

Busch made his Cup debut in 2000 with Roush Racing in a Fordthen ran the whole season as a rookie in 2001. He was fired after five tumultuous seasons with Roush – a stint that included his 2004 title – and moved in Team Penske to drive a Avoid in 2006.

His Penske relationship also ended badly after the 2011 season and Busch moved to Phoenix Racing to drive a Chevrolet for James Finch for one season, then to Furniture Row Racing in 2013, where he revived his career – and began to show maturity on and off the track with his notorious temperament.

Busch moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 and was suspended by NASCAR for the first three races of 2015 over allegations of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend. Then he went to Chip Ganassi Racing and finally 23XI to drive a Toyota in 2021.

He’s one of the rare racers to compete and win for all of NASCAR’s manufacturers. Busch and his brother, along with Bobby and Terry Labonte, are the only siblings to have won Cup titles.

“Since he has spent 23 years in the sport and he has had an extraordinary career, and his inability to return to full time is clearly a doctor’s order, hopefully he can still make peace with all of them. both and happy with whatever he’s going to do going forward,” said Kyle Busch. “He’s healthy, he’ll be able to be as normal, as normal as Busches, for the rest of his life and that’s fine.”

Kurt Busch won 34 races in 776 starts over 23 years, including the Daytona 500 in 2017 with SHR and sponsor Monster, which remains with him to this day. He said he will remain a Monster ambassador and has approached Fox Sports about doing future television work.

“For more than two decades, we have had the honor of watching Kurt Busch play. He has proven himself to be a champion on the track, but perhaps equally important, he has grown to become a true ambassador for the sport,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. .” Kurt’s motivation to improve the future of sports car racing made him different. We are delighted that he will stay in our sport as a leader and trusted resource. Kurt’s unparalleled passion for racing gives us hope that we’ll see him again in a race car.”

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