With an eye toward returning for the playoffs, Kurt Busch will miss the final two races of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season at Watkins Glen and Daytona due to the lingering effects of a concussion.
“As much (as) I want to be back in the car, the time is still not right,” Busch said in a statement on social media Thursday. “Over the last few weeks, I have focused all my efforts on getting better. And in order to fully focus my recovery on trying to be back for the playoffs, I will not be competing in the next two races at Watkins Glen and Daytona.”
Busch’s decision means he will miss the final six races of the regular season. He was injured July 23 during a qualifying crash at Pocono Raceway and missed the following day’s race. He then sat out races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, Michigan and Richmond.
Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs will continue to take Busch’s place in the No. 45 car for 23XI Racing. The 19-year-old Gibbs is the grandson of NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs. Ty Gibbs’ best finish in his first four NASCAR Cup Series starts was a 10th-place finish at Michigan.
Busch, 44, is in the midst of his 22nd full-time season as a NASCAR driver. He was the series racing champion in 2004 and won the Daytona 500 in 2017.
The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin Sept. 4 with the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington.