Kyle Busch’s amazing return after serious injury

Professional stock car racing driver Kyle Busch hasn’t always had it easy but he hasn’t let his troubles get in his way.He’s all set to compete in the Hollywood Casino 400, the second race in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

This 37-year-old is considered one of the best NASCARdrivers of all time, and is top of the list of all-time Xfinity Series race winners. He’s been given the nicknames “Wild Thing” and “Rowdy” due to his aggressive nature on the track, and his sometimes petulant comments off it during the earlier part of his career.

Crashing out in 2015

In February 2015, during the Xfinity Series at the Daytona International Speedway, Busch was involved in a high-speed crash involving several other cars. His vehicleslammed head-on into a wall,which didn’t have a SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) energy-absorbing barrier. Much to the relief of those watching at the track and on TV, Busch managed to partially climb through the car window, and could be seen speaking to the rescue crews when they arrived.

He was helped out of the vehicle and was attended to on the field next to his vehicle before being stretchered off to hospital. The diagnosis:a serious compound fracture in his lower right leg anda broken left foot. Both would require surgery.

Busch recalls the crash in detail

Busch told USA Today he remembered every detail of the crash.He recalled how there was no contact between his car and any other vehicle on the track, but that upset air from another spinning vehicle sent him veering towards the wall at a speed of 176 mph.

He wasn’t able to turn the car to avoid the wall, and only managed to slow down to around 90mph before impact. Although he knew he should take his feet off the brake before hitting the wall, he didn’t manage to do so, which probably contributed to the seriousness of his injuries.

He spent six nightsin hospital between North Carolina and Florida, and needed surgery to insert screws, a rod, and metal plates in his foot and leg.

Once home, he wasn’t able to walk or bend his right leg and had to stay in bed. This was made even more challenging given that his wife Samantha was more than six months pregnant at the time of the crash.They moved his bed downstairs and he spent his time watching a lot of TV!

The road to recovery was pretty quick

Busch recovered well – and more quickly than expected.His crash happened on February 21, and by May he was ready to return to the track. His first race back was the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte on May 15, where he finished sixth.

He had missed the Sprint Cup’s first 11 racesbut he could still qualify for the Chase, provided he finished in the Top 30 in points and had at least one race win. He easily achieved this, and qualified for the Chase.

Busch then got into the final four before claiming victoryin the Championship race on 22 November– something he didn’t think was possible just a few months before.

Busch said: “It’s pretty unbelievable. It’s a dream of a lifetime, a dream come true, it’s something that happens only every so often. I just can’t believe with everything that happened this year, all the turmoil that I went through. This championship is for these guys, my wife, my family and everyone who sacrificed to get me here.”

More surgery

After his surprising win, Busch remained hopeful that he’d be able to compete in the 2016 racing seasonbut he needed further surgery to remove the rod in his leg, which meant missing four weeks. He did, however, manage to compete and camethird that year.

Changes after the crash

Following Busch’s scary encounter with the concrete wall, Atlanta Motor Speedway planned to add around 130 feet of additional safety features to the track. They pledged to add coverage to the pit road exit near the first turn as well as a tire wall following the inner turn-4 wall. A little too late for Busch, but a positive outcome, nonetheless.

Another crash in 2022

On 7 August 2022, Busch was involved in another multi-car crash, at Michigan International Speedway. Thankfully, though, he was uninjured, other than a bruised ego perhaps.The accident meant he finished the race 36th out of 37 drivers. It was a reflection of anaverage 2022 season, although he did score enough points to make the Cup Playoffs, which are currently under way.