The Daytona 500 will be missing both the Busch brothers after Kyle suffered a broken leg and foot in a crash during an Xfinity Series race Saturday, and his brother Kurt lost his final appeal of a suspension that will keep him out of the season-opening race.
Kyle Busch was hospitalized after his car slammed into a concrete wall that did not have an energy-absorbing steel and foam energy reduction (SAFER) barrier. Paramedics placed his right leg in an air cast before taking him to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where doctors performed surgery on a compound fracture.
The Daytona International Speedway is taking some heat for the crash. Daytona president Joie Chitwood said the speedway needs to have the SAFER barrier “on every inch of our property.”
“The Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today,” Chitwood said. “We should have had SAFER barrier there. We’re going to fix that. We’re going to fix that right now.”
Kyle Busch was slated to start fourth in the Daytona 500, but will now be replaced by Matt Crafton.
“Kyle Busch is a key member of our Toyota NASCAR family and it goes without saying that everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), U.S.A. has Kyle in their thoughts and prayers,” Toyota vice president of marketing Ed Laukes said in a statement released Sunday. “Kyle is as tough a competitor as you’ll find in motorsports and I’m confident he’ll recover quickly and return to the track with an even greater passion to win. We know fellow Toyota driver Matt Crafton will represent not only Toyota, but Joe Gibbs Racing well in today’s Daytona 500.”
While Kyle Busch recovers in a Daytona hospital room, his brother Kurt Busch will be forced to watch the race after NASCAR suspended him this week for actions deemed “detrimental to stock car racing.”
A family court in Delaware ruled that it was likely Kurt Busch committed an “act of domestic violence” against ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll by “manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat.” Busch was not charged in the incident, which took place in September.
Busch tried to challenge the ruling, but his appeal was denied by a three-member panel and again by NASCAR final appeals officer Brian Moss.
The Daytona 500 will kick off Sunday at 1 p.m., minus both Kyle and Kurt Busch. Those who want to watch all the action live online can click here for streaming video links.
[Image via ESPN]