Many hoped that Kurt Busch could return to Las Vegas, his hometown track, this weekend for a possible send-off. Instead, the concussion he sustained last year at Pocono Raceway continues to have lingering effects that keep him out.
Busch’s only job this weekend is to continue his consulting work with his 23XI Racing team, co-owned by Michael Jordan and Toyota. While he’s done well in this role, bringing out the best in him, Busch wants to get back on track.
However, the 44-year-old knows he can’t.
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«When you look at the therapist and he looks at you, there’s work to be done,» Busch said, via The Associated Press. «That’s really all I can give you.»
It’s not that Busch hasn’t tried. He has been working hard since last summer and noted that he has been go-karting and using a simulator, which «has been good.»
«It’s just when I had my head on the headrest and there’s that movement, it bothers me,» he said.
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Busch’s injury occurred during a qualifying lap at Pocono, when he lost control of his car, hitting the right rear end into a wall. Although Busch came out waving to the spectators to indicate that he was okay, he certainly wasn’t.
«The crash might not seem like it wasn’t that violent. But the primary fear is: I leaned forward knowing I was backing into the fence,» Busch said. «If you feel fear coming from behind, you lean back. So I exaggerated the punch by leaning forward and that 30G recoil was something I’ve never felt before. I don’t remember the front right punch. That’s when things they got serious in the spotlight on the pitch.»
Yes, 30 G’s registered to Busch’s head in the rear wall slam. He also hit the front wall and that gave Busch 18 Gs.
When he went for an exam after the accident, Busch could not stand up straight or answer questions for the doctors.
He has made progress since then, but «it’s not 100% there,» he told the AP.
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Busch said that 2023 would be his last season in NASCAR anyway, but this is not what he had in mind.
Kyle Busch, Kurt’s younger brother who won last week at Auto Club Speedway, feels his brother will be fine off the track in this new role.
«I see him doing a lot of different things and looking at his schedule and talking to some of the people around him, he’s somewhere doing something every day,» she said. «He’s as good off the track as he can be in the head of a Busch anyway.»
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Kurt Busch won 34 races in 776 starts in a career that spanned more than two decades in NASCAR. He was also the 2004 Cup champion.