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NASCAR: Kurt Busch to miss Cup race at Pocono with head injury

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Kurt Busch will not race at Pocono on Sunday after suffering an apparent concussion in a crash during qualifying on Saturday.

Busch will be replaced in his No. 45 car for 23XI Racing by Xfinity Series driver Ty Gibbs. It’s the Cup debut for Gibbs, the grandson of former Washington Commanders coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs. Gibbs, 19, drives for his grandfather in the Xfinity Series and 23XI Racing is co-owned by JGR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin.

Busch’s car snapped loose and backed into the wall exiting Turn 3 during qualifying on Saturday. NASCAR said that Busch was re-evaluated Sunday after his crash and was not cleared to race.

“NASCAR has done a great job of putting the drivers’ health before competition and I respect the decision they have made,” Busch said in a statement. “I’m still having concussion-like symptoms from yesterday’s impact in qualifying. The tests demonstrate I am still recovering. I will continue to follow the medical team’s recommendations and appreciate everyone’s support.”

Busch won at Kansas in May and is set to be a part of the Cup Series playoffs this fall because of that victory. He will receive a waiver from NASCAR to allow him to retain his playoff eligibility despite missing the race. Busch is currently 14th in the points standings and has eight top-10 finishes in the first 20 races of the season.

Gibbs is third in the Xfinity Series standings and has won four races so far in 2020. He has eight wins in 36 career Xfinity Series starts and could be in line to jump to the Cup Series in 2023 if JGR is unable to retain Kurt’s brother Kyle Busch. Kyle Busch is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2022 season and talks to re-sign with JGR are apparently tenuous as the team has been unable to secure a new sponsor for him after the pending departure of M&M Mars.

Kurt Busch will not race at Pocono on Sunday after suffering an apparent concussion in a crash during qualifying on Saturday. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch will not race at Pocono on Sunday after suffering an apparent concussion in a crash during qualifying on Saturday. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
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