Kyle Busch Details Daytona Crash

Kyle Busch
Mike Mercurio/

Kyle Busch remembers every moment about the crash back in February that has kept him on the sidelines since the start of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, and now after two months turning laps in a wheelchair, he says itching to get back to racing.

For the first time since the crash, Busch met with the media during a press conference at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop in Huntersville, NC.

Although he has no timetable on when he plans to be able to return to racing, Busch has made remarkable progress in is recover from a broken right leg and broken left foot sustained in a crash in the season-opening Xfinity Series race at Daytona on Feb. 21.

Calling the crash “he hardest that I've ever had in NASCAR competition", Busch says he remembers every moment about the crash, detailing how it started, what was going through his mind and what he felt in the immediate aftermath.

Busch was running fifth with 10 laps to go when he attempted to push teammate Erik Jones to the front, but ended up spinning Jones as well as himself, with Busch’s cars sliding through the grass at the end of the frontstretch entering turn two.

Busch’s car, running at nearly full speed, scrubbed off little speed as it slammed nearly head-on into part of the inside wall not protected by a SAFER barrier.

Busch said he tried to get the car to slide sideways and slow down, but the car kept heading straight on into the wall.

“I'm thinking to myself, 'It's not slowing down. It's not ruddering. Oh no it's not slowing down,'" said Busch. “I'm bracing for the hit, but I'm telling myself, 'Oh no it's not slowing down. This is going to hurt.'"

The impact broke Busch’s right leg and left foot, although despite his injuries, he was able to lift himself into the driver’s side window, where safety workers carefully removed him from the car.

Busch said he knew immediately his leg was broken, but the fear of the cars catching on fire forced him to try and get out of the car.

“As soon as the wreck happened, as soon as I hit, I knew instantly that my right leg broke, I could feel it," said Busch. “even after the car came to a stop and the crash was over and I was just sitting there – at first I was like, 'Okay, I'm just going to sit here for a minute and take a breath,' but a flash fire came through the air box and I was like, 'Nope, never mind, I have to get out.’"

Despite a lack of a SAFER barrier on the wall he hit – which Daytona Speedway officials vow to have corrected in time for the next Sprint Cup race there in July – Busch praised the safety innovations put in place by NASCAR which ultimately saved his life.

“I'm alive today just because the fact that the restraints worked, the seat worked, the HANs device worked – everything worked. It was just the pure foot cockpit of the area that obviously injured me," said Busch. “I can't say enough about NASCAR and their innovations. From knees up, no problem, not a mark on me, not a bruise, not a headache, not a neck ache, nothing – it was all great."

For the last two months, the only laps Busch has turned have been in a wheelchair, counting every milestone on his road to recovery.

“They say my recovery is going faster than they expected," said Busch. “They're like, 'Now you're released to stand up in both boots. Now you're released to walk. Now you're released to walk without a boot on your right.' It's week-by-week and it's what I can show them and what I can do and what my physical therapist says I'm capable of."

In his absence, David Ragan has been subbing for Busch behind the wheel of the no. 18 Toyota Camry, keeping the team a respectable 12th in points., while Matt Crafton filled in at Daytona and brought the car home 18th

"I can't say enough for Matt Crafton and David Ragan for being able to step in this situation," said Busch. “(Ragan) has done a great job. He may not be lighting the world on fire, but he's doing exactly what he needs to be doing for this team."

While recovering a home, Busch has also been busy with his wife Samantha preparing for the arrived of their first child, due in May.

“It stinks to be sitting on the sideline, but to be honest with you, like I said, the silver lining is just to be home, to be with Samantha and prep for our son coming. I think that's been the most fun, although I've just been rolling around in a wheelchair," said Busch. “It hasn't been traumatic. I mean, yeah, we've had a couple moments where we've shared, we're crying on each other's shoulders – whatever it might be – it's been a very difficult time in the beginning, but we've sort of dealt with it and known that this has been what's given to us and we deal with it. And, yeah, it's been fun to get out more and more."

Busch plans to attend the upcoming races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and hopes to be back in the race car at Daytona in July.

“As far as a timetable, that's still not set yet for me to get back," said Busch. “As long as my strength continues to improve and I can continue to show the doctor and the NASCAR folks that I'm able to do the things necessary for me to get back in the race car, then that time will be determined as I get better.

“Obviously, I'm itching to get back. I want to get back sooner than later, but we've obviously got to be smart about it too knowing that I've got a long career ahead of me hopefully still, that we don't need to rush anything too crazily and try to be as much healthy as I can be to get back and power our race car."

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