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Racing

Kurt Busch Still Unable to Race after Suffering Concussion at Pocono in July

Jared C. TiltonGetty Images

  • Kurt Busch suffered a concussion last July when his Toyota crashed during qualifying at Pocono Raceway.
  • He took December off from his therapy and admitted it was an “emotional time.”
  • Busch has confronted the sport’s reality head-on.

    Kurt Busch said Friday at Daytona International Speedway this concussion recovery continues, and he expects to one day be cleared to drive, but if it doesn’t happen, he’s OK with it.

    “Every day life is normal,” Bush said. “I just know it from right here (pointing to his heart) that I’m not 100% to race with these guys, the best of the best here (Daytona) at this level.

    “Could I go do a SCCA Club race next week? It’s probably not wise. Go-Karting has been fine for me. The simulator has been fine. It’s just when I have my head in the headrest and there’s that movement that bothers me.

    “With the progress that I’ve made … since August, yes, I believe there will be a full recovery.”


    nascar clash at the coliseum day 2

    Kurt Busch’s new duties with 23XI Racing are outside the race car.

    Jared C. TiltonGetty Images

    Busch suffered a concussion last July when his Toyota crashed during qualifying at Pocono Raceway. He took December off from his therapy and admitted it was an “emotional time”, but he resumed it last month. He and his therapist now use a balance type pad for his workouts. It’s physical therapy that Busch describes as “another challenge.”

    “A lot of it is with balance and eye movement,” Busch said. “I still have my movements that I have to do and it’s fatiguing. I notice things that bring me up and then break me down. I have to do a day on and a day off now where I was pushing seven days a week, trying to get back to the car.”

    In addition to therapy, Busch focuses on his consulting role with 23XI Racing and serving as a brand ambassador for Monster Energy, with whom he’s been involved for a dozen years.

    “There isn’t a question now where my role is.” Busch said. “It’s everywhere within the team and doing different interviews with the race team and our other sponsors. It’s like I’m doing everything the same, except not putting the helmet on. I’m putting the radio on for practice, qualifying and the race.”

    Busch noticed Thursday night in the Daytona 500 qualifying races that 23XI Racing driver Tyler Reddick had difficulty learning how to draft with his boss, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin. In the team’s race debrief, Busch told Reddick he needed “to advance quicker and to advance smarter, and to apply the right things to make sure 23XI is going in the right direction.”

    Busch has confronted the sport’s reality head-on. He knows life moves forward and that sponsorships “don’t fall out of the sky,” that nothing can occur until doctors give him a green light.

    “Then there’s a chance to open up the door for discussions,” Busch said. “So, it’s a process. You can’t push one before the other. We’ll see how things pan out, whether it’s my decision or somebody from up above. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m very happy and complacent.

    “I told Denny (Hamlin) I had one good year in me. I signed a two-year deal, and this would have been kind of that swan song. To have had this opportunity to race in this sport for 23 years and to hit all of the high notes and the low notes, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a Hollywood ending, going for a pole on your last lap ever, right? I’m smiling about it.”

    On Sunday, Busch joins other Daytona 500 winners and NASCAR champions Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson as the grand marshals for the season’s inaugural race.

    Read the full article here

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