NASCAR Cup Series

Kurt Busch out at Pocono, Ty Gibbs to fill in

1 Mins read
Credit. Logan Riely/Getty Images

Following a wreck in qualifying, Kurt Busch has not been medically cleared to run today’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. In his place, Ty Gibbs will make his Cup début by piloting the #45 23XI Racing Toyota.

During his flying lap in Saturday’s qualifying session, Busch got loose exiting turn three and his rear drifted into the outside wall. The angle at which his car hit the barrier caused the vehicle to ricochet and its right-front bumper to bounce into it as well before coming to a rest. Although Busch exited the car without issue, medical evaluations on Sunday ruled he was not fit to compete.

“This morning, Kurt Busch met with doctors in the infield care center for further evaluation following his accident during yesterday’s qualifying session,” NASCAR announced. “Following the evaluation, Kurt Busch has not been cleared to race in today’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway.”

Busch released his own statement: “NASCAR has done a great job of putting the drivers’ health before competition and I respect the decision they have made. I’m still having concussion-like symptoms from yesterday’s impact in qualifying,” read a statement from Busch. “The tests demonstrate I am still recovering. I will continue to follow the medical team’s recommendations, and appreciate everyone’s support. Thanks to 23XI and their efforts, let’s get back on track in Indy!”

He will receive a waiver to maintain playoff eligibility. Currently fourteenth in points, he had already clinched a playoff spot with a win at Kansas in May.

With Busch out of commission, Gibbs was inserted into the ride and is coming off a runner-up finish in Saturday’s Xfinity Series event. Despite his youth at only nineteen years of age, he is already an eight-time Xfinity race winner and sits second in the standings in just his maiden full-time season. Gibbs and Busch also share Monster Energy sponsorship.

Interestingly, the last-minute driver swap means both 23XI drivers for the race made their first career Cup starts as injury replacements at Pocono. In 2017, Bubba Wallace filled in for Aric Almirola in the #43 for now-Petty GMS Motorsports beginning with the Pocono 400, a series of substitute races that he parlayed into a full-time seat the following year.

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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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