If there was any doubt that Kyle Busch was back in form from the broken right leg and fractured left foot he suffered Feb. 21 in a crash at Daytona International Speedway, he proved it in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Even though he had Erik Jones on standby, Busch seemed his vintage self at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Though he didn’t lead, he consistently ran in the top 10 before finishing 11th in NASCAR’s longest race.
“I feel pretty good,” Busch said afterward. “All in all, I felt like that was a great race for us. We ran really strong. We ran up front, and we showed we had some speed.
“We raced up towards the front, we battled side-by-side, door-to-door with guys for a little while. It felt good. I feel good, and I admit I’ve probably got a little left foot soreness, but other than that, everything is pretty hunky‑dory.”
“I’m a little surprised that I feel as good as I do, you know. I was expecting to be a little bit more beat up and tired, but honestly, I’m not.
“There could be two sides to that. If you go week-to-week-to-week you could grind yourself out and you get tired, whereas I just took a three‑month vacation so my body feels pretty good and it’s only been beat up in the gym.
“Other than that, you know, I feel like this was a good night and a great accomplishment. I feel like coming back this quick, you know, was a huge task, but I can’t thank everyone enough, everyone at OrthoCarolina (where he rehabbed from his injuries).”
Busch climbed to 41st in the standings, 169 points behind 30th-ranked Tony Stewart.
NASCAR will allow Busch to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup if he finishes the 26-race regular season with at least one win and is in the top 30 in the standings after the Sept. 12 race at Richmond International Raceway.