With just race remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, there is a record tying 15 race winners, up only 14 of them will be moving on to the playoffs, leaving two spots to be filled at the end of the race at Daytona on Saturday night.
On August 25, 23XI Racing withdrew the medical waiver that had been reserved for Kurt Busch when he returned to racing after suffering a concussion during qualifying at Pocono six weeks ago. Busch is still dealing with the symptoms from that concussion and will not be a part of the 2022 Cup Series playoffs.
The team gave no indication when Busch would return to the 45 car or even if he would be returning any time over the next eleven races remaining in the 2022 season. However, 23XI did announce that Xfinity Series regular with Joe Gibbs Racing would continue to drive the 45 in Busch’s absence.
Team president for 23XI Racing Steve Lauletta spoke on Busch saying, “Kurt has elevated our entire organization this year. Although Kurt will not be competing for a championship this season, he will continue to play a vital role in the organization as he works with our competition group to keep improving and strengthening the team.”
Kurt Busch himself also spoke on the situation saying, “as much as I wanted and hoped to be able to get back in the number 45 car to make the playoff run with our team, it’s still not the right time for me. In addition to not being cleared to return to Racing, I know that I am not ready to be back in the car. I respect the sport of NASCAR, my fellow drivers, and the fans too much to take up a playoff spot if I know I can’t compete for a championship this season. The decision was not an easy one, but I know it is the right thing to do. I will continue to take time to heal and strengthen as I prepare to be back in the car and will do all I can to help 23XI continue the success we have had this season.”
While Kurt Busch is no longer a part of the playoffs, the number 45 is still in contention for a spot in the owner’s championship.