It seems NASCAR is leaning toward granting both Kyle and Kurt Busch waivers that would allow the brothers to compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup if either can win a race in the premier series.
Kurt Busch already has been given dispensation after missing the first three races of the season while suspended by NASCAR for allegations of domestic violence.
In a Thursday meeting with sports editors in New York, NASCAR chairman Brian France said it “was more likely than not” that the same provision would be afforded Kyle Busch, who has been out indefinitely since breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot during a crash in the Xfinity Series opener Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch said during a news conference last week that he plans to return this season, possibly when the circuit returns to Daytona in early July. He hit an unprotected wall, and several tracks have taken steps to upgrade safety measures by adding tire barriers and SAFER walls.
“Depends on when he comes back of course, but it’ll be more likely than not we’re going to try to figure out how to accommodate him, which is the beauty of our playoff system,” France said. “What happened to him was on us. We’ll balance a lot of things at that point when we have to make a decision, but we’re inclined to want to figure that out for sure.”
Granting Busch a waiver again would signal a major change in NASCAR philosophy about the importance of perfect attendance. After decades of requiring its stars to strap into cars while battered and bruised, last year’s revamping of the Chase affords the opportunity to miss races and still compete for a championship – provided NASCAR approves it (a driver must attempt to qualify for every race to maintain eligibility).
Based off its handling of the Busch brothers’ disparate cases, it would seem drivers will be allowed to miss races for legitimate reasons without impacting their title bids.