Veteran to drive for JGR starting with Atlanta Sprint Cup race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that David Ragan will serve as interim driver in place of injured Kyle Busch for the next several weeks beginning this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team said in a statement that Ragan, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran, will run JGR's No. 18 Toyota as Busch recovers from multiple lower-leg injuries suffered in a crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Matt Crafton, champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series the last two seasons, finished 18th as a last-minute fill-in for the season-opening Daytona 500. Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated Ragan's move, according to JGR. Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season. A spokesperson for Front Row Motorsports said there was "no announcement yet" regarding their plans for the No. 34 Ford at Atlanta. Erik Jones will pilot the No. 54 Toyota at Atlanta in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JGR. Busch was expected to compete in the XFINITY Series' Hisense 250 (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) at Atlanta in JGR's No. 54 Toyota. An announcement on who will drive the No. 54 following the Atlanta race will be made at a later date, according to the team. "We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David's (Ragan) availability," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David's caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers. Erik is a big part of our future at JGR and we will be increasing his schedule in the XFINITY Series beginning this weekend in Atlanta and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience. We appreciate all the support we have received from the NASCAR community including our fans and we look forward to getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible." Kyle Busch's wife, Samantha, wished David Ragan luck on Twitter after the news was announced. Thx to David 4 filling in for Kyle . @JacquelynRagan is 1 of my best friends n they r the nicest ppl in the world,wishing them much success! — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) February 24, 2015 Ragan, 29, drove the Front Row Motorsports' No. 34 Ford in Sunday's Daytona 500 and has competed in the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons, bringing the Statesville, North Carolina-based team its only premier series victory in May 2013 at Talladega Superspeedway. Before his tenure at Front Row, Ragan raced for Roush Fenway Racing from 2007-2011. Interesting enough, Ragan was teammates with current JGR drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards as recently as the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, while all three were at Roush Fenway. Jones, a three-time winner in Truck Series competition last year and a four-time winner in his career, was in consideration for the ride in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), which would have made him the first active NASCAR Next driver to make a Sprint Cup start. Ultimately, JGR went with Ragan, a driver with eight full seasons of top-division experience and home-state ties, having grown up in Unadilla, Georgia, roughly 100 miles south of the Atlanta track. Busch , also 29, was released from a Florida hospital Tuesday for further treatment at a facility near his North Carolina home. The move came three days after the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona, where Busch suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a broken left foot, indefinitely placing him on the sidelines. Ragan's transition to the Gibbs team marks an abrupt shift in manufacturers, as his 291 career starts in the Sprint Cup Series have all come in Fords. It also creates a domino-effect vacancy at the Bob Jenkins-owned Front Row organization, which expanded to three full-time teams in the offseason with David Gilliland and Cole Whitt filling the other two seats. Ragan finished 17th in Sunday's Daytona 500, placing him 16th and in the final spot in the provisional Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup postseason grid after the season's first race. Per NASCAR rules, if one driver switches teams during the 26-race regular season, the driver remains eligible for Chase consideration as long as he remains in the top 30 in points. Jones ranks second in the Camping World Truck Series points after his runner-up finish in the Daytona opener. He's scheduled to compete in the full truck season for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and was expected to race in 10 XFINITY events for Joe Gibbs Racing. NASCAR.com's Zack Albert contributed to this report 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
Driver out for 'undetermined amount of time' with fractured right leg RELATED: Crafton to sub for Kyle Busch at Daytona " Drivers wish Kyle Busch well DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch will miss Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 after suffering a leg injury during a hard crash Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Busch was being treated for a compound fracture of the right lower leg and a left mid-foot fracture, and would not compete in the season's biggest event. Busch had successful surgery on his right leg on Saturday night, according to Joe Gibbs Racing, and was resting comfortably. Busch's injuries will "sideline him for an undetermined period of time," according to the team. Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch's No. 18 Toyota for the Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for any races beyond the Daytona 500 at this time. On Sunday morning, Ed Laukes, vice president marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales, said the following in a statement: " 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. 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." Later Sunday, Busch tweeted from the hospital. Would rather b driving than watching the #Daytona500 but pulling 4 @Matt_Crafton and the No. 18 @mmschocolate team. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 22, 2015 Busch's No. 54 Toyota slid across the track and struck the interior wall on Lap 112 of the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series event, the Alert Today Florida 300. Busch appeared to begin to climb from his car without assistance, but was placed on a stretcher by emergency personnel shortly after being helped from the car. Busch was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center moments later. Samantha Busch and team owner Joe Gibbs, along with other team personnel arrived at the track's infield care center on foot, and then boarded golf carts to depart for the hospital. Busch , 29, was expected to scale back his racing activities in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series this season. He is the XFINITY series' all-time win leader with 70 career victories; he has 42 wins in the NCWTS. Busch was scheduled to start fourth in Sunday's Daytona 500, the season-opening race for the Sprint Cup Series. The accident took place when there appeared to be contact between Busch and fellow JGR driver Erik Jones. Busch's entry slid across the grass apron just beyond the exit of pit road and slammed the inside wall nose first. There is no SAFER barrier in that location on the 2.5-mile track. In addition to Busch and Jones, J.J. Yeley, Brendan Gaughan, Chase Elliott, Brian Scott, Elliott Sadler, Darrell Wallace Jr., Cale Conley and Jeffrey Earnhardt were caught up in the accident. " Kyle Busch got hurt? I didn't know that," said third-place finisher Ty Dillon. "I don't want to say anything wrong. But I think we're to the point now in NASCAR we should have SAFER barriers at a place like this, we're going so fast. I think we could probably afford it. "I hate to hear anybody in our sport getting hurt. We've advanced so far in safety we shouldn't be having any crazy bad injuries. So I hope he's all right. But, yeah, I know if it was me, I would want a SAFER barrier there if I got hurt in a spot." "We keep running into situations where people find spots that aren't thought of before," said runner-up Chris Buescher. "I think the sport has progressed so far in the safety aspect. We started to take it for granted. But just there's really no room to do that. My opinion, I mean, it needs to be as safe as possible. If that means lining the inside walls as well, it's probably a good idea." Roush Fenway Racing's Ryan Reed won the race to score his first win in the series. 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
Team owner lauds spirit of his driver, NASCAR community Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch is "resting comfortably" following surgery Saturday night at Halifax Medical Center, but how soon he returns to competition is unknown. " Kyle ... was kind of light-hearted and joking around with me and talking about wanting to get back in the car right away before surgery," said team owner Joe Gibbs. "(The doctor) said everything went very well. RELATED: See the updated Daytona 500 lineup "The major portion of what they did yesterday was his lower right leg ... they took care of that. They're going to wait on his (left) foot. ... They said there's no rush on that." Busch , 29, sustained a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in an accident on Lap 112 of the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series event, the Alert Today Florida 300. RELATED: Kyle Busch undergoes surgery on right leg His No. 54 Toyota was involved in a multi-car crash, slid across the track and struck the interior wall just beyond the exit of pit road on the frontstretch at Daytona International Speedway. After being treated at the scene, Busch was transported to Halifax. On Sunday afternoon, he tweeted for the first time since the wreck: Would rather b driving than watching the #Daytona500 but pulling 4 @Matt_Crafton and the No. 18 @mmschocolate team. — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 22, 2015 Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will drive the No. 18 Toyota in today's season-opening Daytona 500. "Matt has driven some of Kyle's stuff," Gibbs said. "He's a veteran guy and we felt like it was the perfect fit. "As far as time or length, I don't have a good understanding of that with the doctors and everything -- I think we're just going to pray for him to bounce back." "I can tell you this, Kyle's already telling (wife Samantha), 'Hey, I just want to get back to racing.' He has a great spirit about things like that. "... I told him before surgery, 'Hey, I love you.' And that's the way we feel about it." Gibbs said no further surgeries dealing with Busch's right leg are anticipated and that the left foot injury can be dealt with at a later date. "As far as going back to Charlotte, we're on standby with the plane," he said. "Whenever he feels that he can travel, we'll get him back to Charlotte." Crafton, driver of the No. 88 ThorSport Toyota, will be making his first start in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. He has driven Sprint Cup cars previously, qualifying for Robby Gordon in 2008 at Dover International Speedway as well as testing for JGR a year ago. Busch was slated to start today's race from the fourth spot, but because Crafton was not the driver of record during qualifying, he will be required to drop to the rear of the field. "We're going to ride in the back for a little bit, get comfortable with the car," Crafton said Sunday morning. "We've got 500 miles to figure it out. I'm sure for the first half of the race, we're going to ride, be smart and just see what I can learn." The area of the wall struck by Busch's car is not protected by the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, although much of the 2.5-mile track features the energy dissipating system. Saturday night, track president Joie Chitwood III said tire packs would be place along the wall as a safety measure for today's race, and that SAFER barrier would be installed "on every inch at this property" following the race. "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." Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick said Sunday he had hit close to the same spot as Busch during last year's 500 "and kind of voiced my opinion." "Unfortunately I was just a dot on the chart and there was no reaction," the Stewart-Haas Racing driver said. "Hopefully this is a lesson learned. "We know what fixes these walls. ... That's why we wear a helmet. That's why we wear HANS. That's why we wear fire suits. That's why we have fire bottles. It's for that one moment that you have to protect yourself against." 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
Sprint Cup star fractured right leg in NASCAR XFINITY Series race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Matt Crafton will be filling in for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for Sunday's Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Saturday night. Busch suffered a compound fracture of his right lower leg from a hard hit late in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 on Saturday, according to a team release. He is undergoing surgery on his right leg on Saturday night. In addition, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. Busch's injury will sideline him for an undetermined amount of time and no interim driver has been named for any future races, according to the team. Busch began to climb from his car without assistance, but was placed on a stretcher by emergency personnel shortly after exiting the car. He was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center moments later. A 29-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Busch does not have a Daytona 500 victory to his name. In the loop data era at Daytona, Busch has the best average running position (12.8), driver rating (96.2) and most laps in the top 15 (2488), which comes out to 70.1 percent of the laps in the past 20 races. Filling in for Busch will be Crafton, the 38-year-old two-time defending champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Crafton has not started a Sprint Cup Series race in his career although he did qualify Robby Gordon's Cup ride in 2008 at Dover while Gordon competed in the Baja 1000. He failed in his attempt to qualify for the Brickyard 400 last summer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch was slated to start fourth, but due to the driver change, Crafton will have to start at the back of the field. In 339 career starts in the Truck Series, Crafton has five wins, though none of those has come at Daytona. With his brother Kurt Busch suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Friday, Sunday's race will be the first Great American Race since 2000 without one of the Busch brothers in the field. 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
Busch taken to hospital by ambulance after big XFINITY Series wreck Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Related: Hard hit sidelines Busch " Matt Crafton to sub for 500 Kyle Busch hit the interior wall of Daytona International Speedway hard during Saturday night's Alert Today Florida 300 season-opening XFINITY Series event, sustaining injuries that will keep him out of Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver's peers immediately took to Twitter to offer their well-wishes. Get Well Soon, Kyle MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Joe Gibbs discusses Kyle Busch's leg injuries sustained in the XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Qualifying, race set for Saturday at Daytona Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live XFINITY PRACTICE 1 " Full results After finishing second in Thursday night's Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel #2, Kyle Busch soared to the top of the leaderboard at Daytona International Speedway during Friday's opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice for the Alert Today Florida 300 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). The Joe Gibbs Racing driver propelled his No. 54 Toyota at 191.681 mph around the "World Center of Racing." RAB Racing's Justin Marks also showed plenty of momentum in his No. 29 Toyota, posting the second-fastest speed of 190.496 mph. JGL Racing's Mike Wallace (190.018 mph), Roush Fenway Racing's Darrell Wallace Jr. (189.661 mph) and Richard Childress Racing's Ty Dillon (189.550 mph) rounded out the top five. 2014 champion Chase Elliott powered his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet around the Florida oval at 187.966 mph, ranking 24th among the group. FINAL XFINITY PRACTICE " Full results Circling Daytona International Speedway at 187.009 mph, Mike Wallace led the NASCAR XFINITY Series field during Friday's final practice for the Alert Today Florida 300 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Wallace also posted the third-fastest speed in the series' opening practice and was the only top-five driver from the first session to make another run in the final practice. Close behind Wallace was Richard Childress Racing's Brian Scott, who propelled his No. 2 Chevrolet around the Florida track second-fastest at 186.997 mph. A trio of Chevys rounded out the top five: Billy Boat Motorsports' Chad Boat (186.931 mph), Jeremy Clements Racing's Jeremy Clements (186.305 mph) and JD Motorsports' Ross Chastain (185.743 mph), respectively. Several drivers neglected to make a run in final practice, including 2014 champion Chase Elliott, who posted the 24th-fastest time in the first practice. Opening practice leader Kyle Busch also stayed off the track in the final session. The XFINITY Series returns is the track on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole qualifying with coverage on FOX Sports 1. 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
Erik Jones goes around late in the race, sending Kyle Busch head on into the inside wall, several other drivers involved as well.
Kyle Busch takes his M&M Crispy Toyota Camry around Daytona International Speedway’s infield to make some special deliveries to fans.
Thanks fans for support, says husband Kyle is in good spirits