DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Kurt Busch hasn’t given up hope of competing in the NASCAR Cup Series again.
Busch has been sidelined since suffering a concussion during a crash in qualifying at Pocono last summer. He announced in October that he’d be stepping out of his ride at 23XI to continue his recovery.
“I’m feeling much better,” Busch said Sunday. “The improvements that I’ve made have been tremendous.”
He was at Darlington Raceway alongside Ricky Craven, who finished 0.002 seconds ahead of Busch in 2003 at the track “Too Tough To Tame” in what remains the closest finish in NASCAR history.
Busch thought his decision last fall gave him time to continue improving without the pressure of rushing to return for the Daytona 500. He said it also gave him the chance to solidify and enhance sponsorship opportunities for the No. 45 car — now driven by Tyler Reddick — early in the NASCAR season for owners including Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan.
Busch is the 2004 Cup Series champion and has won 34 career races. He was named among the circuit’s 75 greatest drivers of all time, a group being recognized during Darlington’s throwback weekend.
Busch, 44, said the program has given him space to get fully healthy.
“The toughest part is my body’s fatigue, going through physical therapy,” he said. “Having a day on, day off, things in my body are much more sensitive.”
Busch said he’s worked in the simulator and recently drove a powerboat at a sponsor event.
“I’m pushing” to return, Busch said. “It’s all little things that keep adding up.”
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.