By AMANDA VINCENT
NASCAR announced on Wednesday morning that Kyle Busch has been granted a waiver that would allow him to compete for one of the 16 Chase for the Sprint Cup spots in NASCAR’s 10-race postseason. The waiver excludes him from rule 18.104.22.168.a that calls for a driver to “start all championship events of the current season.”
In its announcement from Wednesday, NASCAR included the following statement from NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell:
“On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, it’s great to have Kyle Busch back racing. Our decision to grant Kyle a waiver that allows him to continue running for a championship is one we discussed extensively. The spirit of the rule never was designed to punish drivers who are unable to compete due to extenuating circumstances, such as recovering from a racing accident.
“We wish Kyle the best of luck in the balance of the season, and look forward to his return to the car this week for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Busch announced via Twitter on Tuesday morning that he would return to action behind the wheel of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series Saturday night in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a non-points-paying event. Busch’s first points-paying event will be the May 24 Coca-Cola 600, also at Charlotte.
To make the Chase, Busch will still have to get himself into the top-30 of the driver points standings and win at least one race or be high enough in the points standings to claim one of the final Chase spots after race winners are put in the Chase field by the end of the September race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, the 26th and final race of the regular season.
After last weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway, the most recent points-paying race, Tony Stewart occupies the 30th spot in the points stanings with 179 points, more than three-and-a-half races’ worth of maximum points. There are 15 races remaining for Busch to get into the top-30 and win at least one race.
Busch has yet to race in a points-paying Sprint Cup race this season, missing a total of 11 races, after suffering a broken leg and foot in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. Prior to his injury, though, he did run the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and Budweiser Duel Daytona 500 qualifying race, both non-points-paying races.
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