When will Kurt Busch return? 23XI star driver hopes for comeback by start of NASCAR Cup Series playoffs

It’s been a frustrating past month or so for 23XI Racing’s Kurt Busch. The 2004 Cup Series winner was involved in a gnarly wreck during qualifying for the M&M Fans Appreciation 400 at Pocono on July 23.

Busch suffered a concussion during the collision. He hasn’t driven the No. 45 Camry since, with 19-year-old Ty Gibbs filling in for the Cup Series veteran.

Here is the latest news on Busch’s injury recovery, as well as when fans can expect to see him back in the driver’s seat of the No. 45 car.

MORE: NASCAR schedule 2022

When will Kurt Busch return?

Busch released a statement on Twitter indicating that he will miss the final two Cup Series regular season races — at Watkins Glen and Daytona — in order to step up his recovery efforts. Busch is aiming to return to the No. 45 car by the start of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

The first race of the Cup Series playoffs, the Southern 400, is scheduled for Sept. 4 at 6 pm ET.

Busch will have missed six races by that point.

Who will drive the No. 45 cars this week?

19-year-old Ty Gibbs will man Busch’s No. 45 Camry for the next two races, just as he has done for the past four. Gibbs, the grandson of Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, has impressed during his spell in the big time. Gibbs notched three top-20 finishes, including a 10th-place showing at the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan on Aug. 7.

Gibbs is a rising prospect in the NASCAR ranks. With Tyler Reddick set to join 23XI in 2024 and Kyle Busch’s contract still up in the air for 2023, Gibbs may be one of the hottest commodities on the Cup Series circuit. Only time will tell, though.

When does the Cup Series playoffs start?

The Cup Series playoffs kick off with the Southern 400 on Sept. 4 at 6 pm ET. As of now, 16 racers are set to participate, although that number could grow depending on the results of the next two races.

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