After being forced to miss the past two NASCAR Cup Series races, Kurt Busch announced Wednesday afternoon that he has once again not been medically cleared to return to competition and will miss his third straight race this week at Michigan International Speedway. Ty Gibbs will continue in his role as Busch’s substitute driver behind the wheel of the No. 45 Toyota for 23XI Racing.
After a hard crash in Turn 3 during the final round of qualifying at Pocono, Busch announced the following morning that he had not been medically cleared to race by NASCAR after suffering from “concussion-like” symptoms. Busch shared that he has still not been cleared this week, but he noted he was making improvements.
“I remain dedicated to focusing on my recovery and getting back on the track and will continue to work closely with NASCAR’s medical team and my own team of doctors,” Busch said in a statement issued on July 27. “I’m thankful to 23XI and my sponsors for supporting me and also putting my health first, and to Ty for stepping in to race the No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota Camry TRD. I am proud of his debut and know he will represent the 45 well again this weekend.”
Gibbs, the 19-year-old grandson of Joe Gibbs and a championship contender in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, was called into action after Busch’s injury at Pocono, finishing 16th and on the lead lap in his Cup debut. He then finished 17th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course.
After his injury put him out of commission at Pocono, Busch was granted a medical waiver by NASCAR that will allow him to qualify for the NASCAR Playoffs despite missing multiple races. Busch moved onto the playoff grid by winning at Kansas in May, and he was 14th in points with one victory, five top fives, and eight top 10s prior to last weekend.