Kurt Busch has been out of the NASCAR Cup Series since his qualifying wreck at Pocono Raceway during the 2022 season but it has not been his own choice. Busch suffered a concussion in the accident and still has lingering symptoms.
The 44-year-old driver continues his recovery process as the No. 45 car goes around the track without him. In fact, Busch made the decision to step away from full-time racing and it allowed Tyler Reddick to join 23XI Racing one year earlier than expected.
Busch was in the FOX Sports Booth when Reddick won his first race with 23XI Racing and got emotional. This was supposed to be his farewell season alongside Kevin Harvick; however, his journey has been different and it is not over yet.
Busch has been slowly making progress since he suffered a concussion at Pocono Raceway. Nobody expected to see the former 23XI Racing driver on the sidelines during the 2023 NASCAR season but he has been making the best of it.
Whether that is mentoring the young drivers at Toyota or joining the FOX Sports Booth for select races, Busch has been sticking around NASCAR and keeping himself involved when it would be very easy for him to just walk away from it for good.
It is good to see former NASCAR Cup Series champions stay involved in the sport; however, there seems to be growing optimism that Busch could return to the racing series at some point during the 2023 or 2024 season if he is medically cleared.
Ahead of the Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway last weekend, Busch talked to the Associated Press and gave several updates about his injury recovery and the idea of returning to NASCAR sooner rather than later.
“I’m feeling much better. The improvements that I’ve made have been tremendous…The toughest part is my body’s fatigue, going through physical therapy. Having a day on, day off, things in my body are much more sensitive. I’m pushing (to return to NASCAR). It’s all little things that keep adding up.”Kurt Busch on his injury recovery and return to NASCAR
This is a very positive update from Busch as he is beginning to feel better every day. In fact, the former NASCAR driver also said that he has been working in the simulator and drove a powerboat at an event for a sponsor.
There is definitely progress on Busch’s end and that is happy to see in itself. The NASCAR aspect of it is not the priority as his health remains the No. 1 focus; however, he is certainly improving enough to where a return can become a reality.
If Busch is cleared and can return to the Cup Series in 2023, which race would make the most sense for his return? Continue reading to find out the three ideal events for Busch this season.
Busch still has a long way to go in his recovery but there is certainly significant progress. With work in the simulator and his body feeling better, a return to NASCAR doesn’t seem as unlikely as a few months ago.
The Chicago Street Course would be a good race for Busch to make his 2023 NASCAR debut if he is medically cleared. Busch has been helping promote the event and could feel inclined to return there if enough progress is made by July.
Busch hasn’t won on a road course since his time with Team Penske but it is not about winning the event. The idea of simply returning to a track where NASCAR is going to make history would be good enough on the surface.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway would also represent a great option for Busch’s return. The former NASCAR driver is from Las Vegas, NV, and making a return to his hometown track would be extra meaningful for him and his family.
It is a 1.5-mile track and that is the last type of race that Busch won in the NASCAR Cup Series during the 2022 season with 23XI Racing. In fact, this leads to another race that would represent a quality place for Busch’s return to NASCAR.
Busch’s last victory came at Kansas Speedway and that is why it could be a great track for his potential return. Just like Las Vegas, the race would take place in the fall so there would be plenty of time for him to continue his recovery.
Kansas was also extremely positive for Toyota again as Denny Hamlin won two weeks ago over Kyle Larson. As stated above, it is not about winning but it would be nice to see Busch run well in his return.
There is no rush for Busch to come back but it certainly promising to hear his comments from Darlington Raceway. For now, the NASCAR garage will continue to enjoy Busch’s presence while hoping he gets to return to what he loves the most.
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