Sunday, February 22, 2015

Busch Out Of Daytona 500, Chitwood Says Track "Did Not Live Up To Its Responsibility"

Kyle Busch will not compete in today’s 57th Daytona 500, after suffering a compound fracture of his right leg in a savage NASCAR XFINITY Series crash at Daytona International Speedway Saturday.

Busch impacted an unprotected section of concrete retaining wall near Turn One late in Saturday’s race, before being helped from his car and placed in an air for transport to Halifax Health Medical Center. He underwent surgery Saturday night to repair a compound fracture of his lower right leg and remains hospitalized today. 

A somber DIS track president Joie Chitwood said the track “did not live up to its responsibility” by failing to install SAFER barriers on inside retaining walls, and pledged to begin installing them "on every inch of our property," beginning next week.

DIS President Joie Chitwood
"Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today," said Chitwood. "We should have had SAFER barrier there. We're going to fix that. We're going to fix that right now."

Impact-absorbing tire packs were installed along the wall late Saturday night as a stopgap measure, with Chitwood vowing, “This is not going to happen again… the fix starts right now." He said the speedway has installed "tens of thousands" of linear feet of SAFER barrier in five different stages over the years, including 2,400 feet prior to last July’s Coke Zero 400.

Busch, who was scheduled to start fourth in today’s Daytona 500, will be replaced by two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton, who will make his first career Sprint Cup start in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota.
Busch is expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks, though no permanent replacement has been named. His wife Samantha is expecting the couple's first child in May.


  1. Anonymous10:13 AM

    A promising season crushed by a lapse of judgement. And it wasn't his. I am positive he'd have walked away with a SAFER barrier there. Instead, a long recovery is his reward. Get well soon kyle. It will be difficult enough for you, it's going to suck for your fans.

  2. I cannot blame Daytona here. Busch hammered a wall in an area over 200 feet from the racing surface where crashes until now haven't occurred - and those drivers who took to Twitter after the wreck asking why there were no SAFER barriers there I'm pretty sure hadn't thought they were needed there either. The real issue is Busch didn't scrub off any speed on his way to that wall - we've seen wrecks off Turn Two where cars shoot down the paved run-off area into the inside wall without any scrub-off of speed. I'm not sure what can be done about that.

  3. Michael in SoCal10:35 AM

    If the SAFER barrier wasn't needed in the area 200 feet from the racing surface, why was a wall needed there? If there is a wall to stop a car from going anywhere on the racetrack, it should be a SAFER barrier. The grass in front of that wall is why he wasn't able to scrub off speed. Take out the grass and put in pavement where braking would have helped.

    1. When Danica among others hammered the Superstretch wall sliding on a run-off area that's entirely paved, they didn't scrub off any speed either. And I remember cars like Robert Pressley in 1997 getting upside down on that run-off. Virtually all of the area Busch slid was paved; the grass really isn't at fault.

      The wall is at that part of the track because it's where the road course section enters and then exits.

  4. Anonymous12:36 PM

    Cheers to Chitwood for being a stand-up guy and not trying to pass the buck, lay blame elsewhere or label it as a "freak accident"

    Kevin F