Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
So Many Drivers Have Missed Races
2015 has been a good year for backup drivers.
Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin have all missed time behind the wheel thus far in 2015. Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin have since returned while Kyle Busch is expected back this summer and there is no timetable for the return of Vickers.
The one driver that benefitted the most from all of this is David Ragan. Ragan was supposed to be in the No. 34 machine for the 2015 season. Since the second race of the year Ragan has been with JGR in the No. 18 machine. Ragan’s time in the No. 18 machine will end after this weekend and he will then go to the No. 55 machine at MWR in place of Vickers.
Ragan has had opportunity literally fall into his lap this season and he is more than taking advantage of it.
The other wrinkle involved in drivers missing races is the question of what NASCAR is going to do with Busch when he returns. Busch is expected back this summer and it is expected that he will be seeking a waiver to make him eligible for the chase should he win a race. NASCAR has said they want to accommodate Busch but one has to wonder how far they are willing to go. Depending on how much time Busch misses a win might not be enough to get him into the top-30 in points before the start of the chase.
Is NASCAR willing to waive the top-30 criteria for Busch should he win a race? It looks like that might be the million dollar question once he returns to racing.