Even after broken leg and foot, Kyle Busch doesn’t appear to have lost any steps after 6th-place Sprint All-Star run


Kyle Busch continues to surprise … if not amaze.

First, he came back to race a Sprint Cup car just 84 days after suffering a broken right leg and fractured left foot in the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona on Feb. 21.

Second, Busch isn’t showing any lingering results from his big wreck.

Third, Busch showed this weekend that he’s truly ready to get back to racing.

Not only was he the fastest in Friday’s practice session, Busch ran competitively in Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race, finishing sixth.

“It was really good (to be back racing),” Busch said after Saturday’s race. “I learned some things. I think we also learned some stuff – myself and (crew chief) Adam Stevens – about this race car for me and getting around here in Charlotte. So we can take some of that next week and look forward to the Coke 600.

“All in all it was a good evening. We were clicking off some spots, moving ourselves forward. I felt really good about things. I got busted for speeding on pit road. In that same segment, we ended up having a loose wheel. At least it was two things biting us in one segment, not two things biting us in different segments. That was a real positive.

“(It was) real fortunate just to get back in the race car, to get out there and feel things out. Otherwise everything felt good and getting to pit road, all that, everything was fine.”

Although Busch has worked extensively at rehabilitating from his crash injuries, he expected some residual affect from his first race back in nearly three months.

“I’ll be sore for a couple days, just muscles that haven’t been woken up like this in a little while,” he said. “It’s nothing new. Typically I get that in the beginning of the year anyway. It takes a few weeks to kind of get warmed up to things, your body to kind of settle in.

“Being out of the race car the longest I’ve ever been in my career, it’s a wake-up call for myself to get back rolling. Other than that, I just feel fine. I never was out of breath at all during the race or through the runs or anything like that. That was a good thing.”

After a career-worst injury, some drivers might be slightly apprehensive to climb back into a race car.

“I was not worried about it,” he said. “But, you know, when you’re working out and doing things, doing therapy and whatnot, the therapist tells you, ‘Your cardio is really bad.’ It’s definitely gotten better over the last month, but I wasn’t sure how great it was going to be yet. It felt really good.

“From here on out, there’s only going to be an upward swing, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Busch admitted he’s somewhat concerned about his overall endurance. He just went through the shortest race of the year only to come back a week from now in the sport’s longest, the Coca-Cola 600.

“As far as endurance goes for next week, I felt like I got out of the car after a hundred laps and I’m fine,” he said. “Am I going to die out after 200 or 300 (laps in the 600)? I don’t know. The plan is to go the full distance.”

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Alex Bowman confident as he returns to racing from back injury


CONCORD, N.C. — Alex Bowman watched the rain-filled skies over Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday with more than a touch of disappointment.

As weather threatened to cancel Saturday night’s scheduled NASCAR Cup Series practice at the speedway, Bowman saw his chances to testing his car — and his body — dissolving in the raindrops. NASCAR ultimately cancelled practice and qualifying because of rain.

MORE: Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup practice, qualifying

Bowman suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car accident last month and has missed three Cup races while he recovers. Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the season’s longest race, is scheduled to mark his return to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet.

“It would have been really nice to kickstart that with practice today,” Bowman said. “I haven’t raced or competitively driven a race car in a month. I’m trying to understand where my rusty areas are going to be and where I’m still good.”

Bowman ran 200 laps in a test season at North Wilkesboro Speedway this week, but, of course, that doesn’t compare with the faster speeds and tougher G-forces he’ll experience over 400 laps Sunday at CMS.

Bowman admitted that he is still experiencing pain from the back injury — his car flipped several times — and that he expects some pain during the race. But he said he is confident he’ll be OK and that the longer race distance won’t be an issue.

“I broke my back a month ago, and there’s definitely things that come along with that for a long time,” he said. “I have some discomfort here and there and there are things I do that don’t feel good. That’s just part of it. It’s stuff I’ll have to deal with. But, for the most part, I’m back to normal.

“I’m easing back into being in the gym. I’m trying to be smart with things. If I twist the wrong way, sometimes it hurts. In the race car at the end of a six-hour race, I’m probably not going to be the best.”

The sprint car crash interrupted what had been a fine seasonal start for Bowman. Although winless, he had three top fives and six top 10s in the first 10 races.

“I’m excited to be back,” Bowman said. “Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off and be strong right out of the gate.”

He said he hopes to return to short-track racing but not in the near future.

“Someday I want to get back in a sprint car or midget,” he said. “I felt like we were just getting rolling in a sprint car. That night we were pretty fast. Definitely a bummer there. That’s something I really want to conquer and be competitive at in the World of Outlaws or High Limits races. Somebody I’ll get back to that. It’s probably smart if I give my day job a little alone time for a bit.”




Charlotte NASCAR Cup Series starting lineup: Rain cancels qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — William Byron and Kevin Harvick will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the front row after wet weather cancelled Saturday night qualifying.

Rain pelted the CMS area much of the day Saturday, and NASCAR announced at 3:45 p.m. that Cup practice and qualifying, scheduled for Saturday night, had been cancelled.

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

The starting field was set by the NASCAR rulebook.

Following Byron and Harvick in the starting top 10 will be Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The elimination of the practice session was particularly problematic for Alex Bowman, scheduled to return to racing Sunday after missing three weeks with a back injury, and Jimmie Johnson, who will be starting only his third race this year. Johnson will start 37th — last in the field.

Charlotte Cup starting lineup

Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup Series practice, qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR Cup Series drivers will start the longest race of the season with no practice or qualifying.

Wet weather and predictions of more to come led NASCAR to cancel Saturday night’s Cup Series practice and qualifying in mid-afternoon. The field for Sunday’s 600-mile race was set by the NASCAR rulebook, placing William Byron and Kevin Harvick on the front row for the  scheduled 6 p.m. start.

MORE: Charlotte Cup starting lineup

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

Weather also could be an issue Sunday as more rain is predicted for the speedway area.

Drivers were scheduled to practice at 7 p.m. Saturday. That session was to be followed by qualifying at 7:45 p.m. The cancellations were announced at 3:45 p.m.

The time-trial cancellation marked the first time in 64 years that qualifying has been canceled for the 600.

Charlotte Xfinity race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — Persistent rain forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to Monday.

The race is scheduled to start at noon ET. It will be televised by FS1 and broadcast by the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Driver introductions and other pre-race activities were held at the track Saturday, but rain that had dampened the track in the morning hours returned. After several attempts at drying the track, the race was postponed after heavier rain returned in mid-afternoon.

Justin Allgaier will start the race from the pole position.