Hamlin, Jones and Said to sub for the injured Kyle Busch Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Boris Said will sub for Kyle Busch in the No. 54 NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Monday. Busch returned to his Charlotte, North Carolina, home as he recovers from a compound fracture of the right lower leg and left mid-foot fracture, suffered in the XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway last month. There is no specific timetable for Busch to get back behind the wheel. "We hate this for Kyle obviously and I think everyone is focused on getting him back healthy," Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing said in a release provided by the team. "We can't thank Monster Energy and all of our partners enough for working with us while Kyle is recovering and certainly it is nice to have Denny and Erik ready to fill in. We're also excited that Boris will have the opportunity to drive the car for seven races in 2015." Hamlin will pilot the car this weekend at Las Vegas for the Boyd Gaming 300 (Saturday, Mar. 7, 4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and in four other events. Those events are at Auto Club Speedway on March 21, Texas Motor Speedway (April 10), Bristol Motor Speedway (April 18) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 23). Hamlin had been previously scheduled for six NASCAR XFINITY Series events, but these additions bring that total up to 11. Hamlin currently runs full-time for JGR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, piloting the No. 11 Toyota. Jones, who drove the No. 54 Toyota at Atlanta last weekend, will be back behind the wheel of the car at Phoenix International Raceway (March 14) and again at Richmond International Raceway (April 24). Jones finished 13th at Atlanta last weekend. The 18-year-old is running a full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and is also running a partial schedule for JGR in the No. 20 NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota. Jones will now be running an estimated 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series events, according to a release provided by the team. Said will be behind the wheel for mostly the non-companion events on the NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule. His first start is set for Talladega Superspeedway on May 2. He will also run events at Iowa Speedway on May 17 and August 1, Chicagoland Speedway on June 20, Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course on August 15, Road America on August 29 and Kentucky Speedway on September 26. Said is primarily known for his road course abilities with both of his NASCAR premier series starts in 2014 coming on road courses. Last week, JGR announced that David Ragan would be subbing for Busch in the No. 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota for the next several weeks. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JGR teammate discusses challenges of being out of the car for an injury Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga. – Denny Hamlin says he has a pretty good idea of what Kyle Busch, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, is going through these days. Busch, 29, suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in a crash during the Feb. 21 NASCAR XFINITY Series race, the Alert Today Florida 300, at Daytona International Speedway . He has undergone surgeries on both injuries and is currently recuperating at home. It is not known when he will be able to return to competition. Hamlin missed four Sprint Cup Series races in 2013 when he suffered a back injury in a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway . "I talked to him this week," Hamlin said Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway , site of Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (FOX, 1 p.m. ET). "A little bit after Daytona, just talking about our cars and what I thought we felt. Kind of keeping him up to date with where we're at. But I haven't talked to him this weekend. "My guess is he's on plenty of pain medication and that's making him feel pretty good." Hamlin said the difficult part for Busch would likely be rehabilitation as Busch's body continues to heal. That and dealing with the emotions of being sidelined for so long while unable to go about his normal daily routine. "I know that personally," Hamlin said. "When you break something or something like that, the initial days you're like 'this isn't so bad, I can survive that,' but the rehab and going through all that is really going to be a challenge for him. "The biggest thing is just fighting your emotions and not getting all torn up about not being able to do the things that you were normally able to do. I was in a wheelchair for just a couple of days, he's probably going to be there for awhile so … the mental challenge will probably be the toughest thing he'll have to overcome." Two-time NACAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton filled in for Busch in the season-opening Daytona 500, finishing 18th in the team's No. 18 Toyota. Earlier this week, JGR officials named David Ragan the team's interim driver for the next several weeks. Ragan, a two-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series, will start 17th in Sunday's race. Eighteen-year-old Erik Jones is filling in for Busch this weekend in the organization's No. 54 entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Jones was originally slated to compete in 10 XFINITY events this year, with his next scheduled start coming at Auto Club Speedway . The series visits Las Vegas and Phoenix before the Auto Club stop, and JGR officials have not announced its driver plans for the No. 54 XFINITY Series team beyond this weekend. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nick Ottinger (05) battled to his first win of the season at Auto Club Speedway .
Chat with NASCAR fans while following the racing at Auto Club Speedway
Organization owns 12 tracks in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Officials at International Speedway Corporation, which owns 12 tracks where NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series races, said Tuesday that the company has a "significant plan" in development to expand its use of impact-diffusing barriers in the interest of safety. John Saunders, ISC president, said in a statement that the project will focus first on its two largest tracks -- 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway and 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway , where Kyle Busch's severe crash and resulting injuries during last Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race renewed the focus on safety measures. In a statement provided by ISC, Saunders said the plan would emphasize "the installation of additional impact-absorbing technologies including but not limited to SAFER barriers (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction). We will utilize all available tools to ensure the safety of the drivers and our fans. It will remain our top priority." Saunders also indicated that a "thorough review of our other ISC facilities will continue with the focus to prioritize each track's most critical areas first." That focus will become sharper at the next ISC tracks hosting Sprint Cup and other NASCAR national series events -- one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, March 13-15; and two-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, March 20-22. "ISC is working very closely with NASCAR and industry experts to identify areas for additional safety protections," Saunders said. "As we finalize our plans, we will communicate them to the drivers and necessary stakeholders ahead of our races at each ISC facility." Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III emphatically said Saturday, hours after Busch's crash, that his track would expand its use of impact-absorbing protective barriers. On Monday, Talladega and Kentucky Speedway followed suit with their plans, followed a day later by Atlanta Motor Speedway , site of this weekend's tripleheader for all three NASCAR national series. The Auto Club track expanded its use of energy-absorbing walls ahead of its 2014 race, after Denny Hamlin suffered a broken back when his car hit an unprotected concrete retaining wall the year before. The inside-wall area of Turn 4, just ahead of the pit road entrance, is now covered with SAFER barriers. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Track president: 'We've got history and experience doing March races' Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live For the first time since 2004, NASCAR teams won't load up and head west for the season's second stop following the Daytona 500. Instead, Week No. 2 will find teams from all three national series -- Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck -- headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway . Coming on the heels of the season’s premier race has its challenges, AMS president Ed Clark told NASCAR.com, and weather is always a concern with an early March date in the area. RELATED: Atlanta plans SAFER barrier additions But, Clark said, "We've got history and experience doing March races. "The thing that's different about this one is that in the past, the Daytona 500 kicked the season off, we came home and had two to three weeks of outstanding interest in the sport. The day after the 500 was always your biggest ticket sales day of the year. "In this case, the Daytona 500 is over Sunday afternoon and we’re into Atlanta's race week right then." AMS hosted a Labor Day weekend race from 2010 through this past season. Up until 2010, it hosted two annual Sprint Cup weekends, the first typically falling in early to mid-March. From '82 through 2004, the second Sprint Cup race of the season was held at either Richmond International Raceway or North Carolina Motor Speedway (Rockingham). California's Auto Club Speedway hosted the second stop from '05 through '10 and Phoenix International Raceway had been the host since '11. "It's a plus and a minus," Clark said of being No. 2 on the schedule. "We all remember the year that Cale (Yarborough) and Bobby and Donnie (Allison) got in a fight (at Daytona in '79). The printing press couldn't have printed enough tickets for the next race. … That's a bonus when it happens. The world is watching what goes on at Daytona, there's a lot of focus on the sport. Everything is new. So it's a plus from that standpoint." Weather issues early in the year aren't uncommon for the Atlanta region, however. And the long-range forecast for this year's race weekend didn't look promising. But it has since changed (and will likely again), going from a chance of snow to a 40 percent chance of rain to a 20 percent chance of rain in the span of a week, according to www.NOAA.gov. Clark is more concerned about those things his group can control instead of those it can't. "I haven't even looked at (the weather forecast) in about a day and a half," he said. "No need to. It changes. "That's the approach we've taken all along. We know how to promote races; we've done it for years. Have your plan; work your plan. When you get to race time, you don't want to look back and say there was something you could have done that you didn't do." Part of that plan included an appearance by reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick on Monday. Prior to Thursday's scheduled test session, Atlanta Motor Speedway Day will be celebrated at the state capitol. Three-time premier series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip is expected to join active native Georgia drivers from all three series for a visit with the governor as well as stops as the Senate and House chambers. "The long and short of it," Clark said, "is we've done things we typically do, no matter when the race is." In addition to normal race-weekend preparations, AMS announced Tuesday upgrades to its current SAFER barrier system will be put in place in time for this weekend's events. Camping World Truck Series teams, which haven't competed at AMS since 2012, will share top billing on Saturday with the XFINITY Series in a double-header race day that features the Hisense 250 XFINITY Series race (2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) and the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 Truck Series event (5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series event is scheduled for Sunday, March 1 with TV coverage on FOX. "We know we'll have a good race; we always have a good race at Atlanta," Clark said. "If we can get that first one done and all be positive, we have a whole year to work on ('16). I think that's when we will find out what the potential is for the future." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Interim driver coming off career-best Cup finish at Atlanta
NASCAR tweaks West Coast schedules to give extra time for inspections
For Daytona 500, workers are installing tire packs where Kyle Busch hit wall RELATED: Learn about the SAFER barrier " Kyle Busch out for undetermined amount of time DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona International Speedway track president Joie Chitwood III said Saturday evening that the facility had "failed to live up to its responsibility today," hours after NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center for treatment of a leg injury. Busch, competing in Saturday's XFINITY Series season-opening race, was injured when he his No 54 Joe Gibbs Racing entry struck the inside wall nose first on the 112th lap of the 120-lap event. Due to the severity of the injury, NASCAR officials said the 29-year-old Busch would not be able to compete in Sunday's Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. RELATED: Drivers wish Kyle Busch well JGR officials announced at approximately 9:19 p.m. ET Saturday that Busch had sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg as well as a mid-foot fracture of his left foot. The injuries will keep Busch off the track for an indefinite period. Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton will replace Busch in the team's No. 18 entry for the 500, however no replacement has been named for future races. While much of Daytona's 2.5-mile track features the impact-absorbing SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, the area struck by Busch's car does not. "We should have had a SAFER barrier there today; we did not," Chitwood said. "We're going to fix that. We're going to fix that right now." Chitwood, who took over the reins of NASCAR's best-known facility in August of 2010, said track officials had dispersed a team of workers Saturday night to "install tire packs along that 850-foot … wall, so we're ready to go racing (Sunday). Once the event is complete, Chitwood said work would begin to "install SAFER barrier on every inch at this property. "This is not going to happen again," he said. "We're going to live up to our responsibility. We're going to fix this and it starts right now." Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the first NASCAR-sanctioned track to put the barriers in place, completing its initial installation in May of 2002. A second generation of the barrier was installed at IMS in '05. Kansas Speedway completed its first SAFER barrier project in August of '04 and other NASCAR-sanctioned facilities have since upgraded their facilities to include the system as well. However, no NASCAR-sanctioned track currently feature the energy-reducing materials on all of its interior and exterior walls. Steve O'Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, said officials have been told that there were situations in which it would be unwise to install the barriers in certain locations at some tracks. "I think it goes to NASCAR is not the only sanctioning body that races at a specific track," he said. "I can use Eldora for instance, where a SAFER barrier was looked at, but wouldn't have been the safest solution." Eldora Speedway , a one-half mile dirt track located in Rossville, Ohio and owned by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, hosts a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event each year. "One of the challenges is there are a lot of other racing series that race at the racetracks we race at," O'Donnell said, "but I wouldn't say it's a very common occurrence." Busch's injury was just the latest involving NASCAR drivers hitting walls left unprotected by the barriers. In 2013, teammate Denny Hamlin suffered a back injury that sidelined the JGR driver after a hard crash at Auto Club Speedway . The track installed 1,000 additional feet of the barrier in the wake of Hamlin's accident. Jeff Gordon's crash at Las Vegas brought about changes to the inside wall where his No. 24 entry struck in a 2011 incident; crashes by Elliott Sadler at Pocono Raceway and Jeff Fuller at Kentucky in recent years brought about changes at those facilities as well. O'Donnell did not say that NASCAR would require every facility to install the SAFER barrier on all of the walls. But he said talks about increasing the amount of the barrier are on-going and would continue. "We always have those conversations with the race tracks," he said. "What we've said here tonight is we will accelerate those talks with the tracks. We want this sport to be as safe as possible for not only our drivers, but for everyone who participates in the sport and the race fans as well." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
PIR will work with NASCAR to enhance 'impact-absorbing technologies'