NASCAR: Kyle Busch at risk of missing Darlington?

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Kyle Busch could be forced to miss this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway as he and his wife await the birth of their daughter.

Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha are getting ready to welcome a baby girl, their second child, into the world at some point within the next few weeks.

With the baby set to be born through surrogacy, the 37-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native may be called to leave Darlington Raceway this weekend so that he and his wife can be with the surrogate carrying the baby if she goes into labor.

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Even if he is not called away from his #18 Toyota and gets the chance to compete in Sunday afternoon’s Goodyear 400, there is a chance that he could be called to leave Kansas Speedway ahead of the AdventHealth 400 next weekend for the same reason, should the baby come at that time.

Trevor Bayne, who joined Joe Gibbs Racing as a part-time driver for their Xfinity Series team this year, is on standby for Busch.

Bayne has competed in three Xfinity Series races for the team behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota this year, and his top finish of the season is a third place effort at Auto Club Speedway.

The 2011 Daytona 500 champion last competed in a Cup Series race for Roush Fenway Racing at Texas Motor Speedway in November 2018.

Without a doubt, NASCAR would grant Busch a playoff waiver if he were to miss this Sunday afternoon’s race or even next Sunday afternoon’s race at Kansas Speedway.

His win in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which saw him lead only the final lap, has effectively locked him into the playoffs, provided the regular season does not end with more than 16 different winners. But he currently sits in fourth place in the point standings, so even if there are more than 16 winners, he should be pretty safe.

Busch hasn’t missed a race since the 2015 season, when he missed the first 11 races after breaking his right leg and left foot in a crash during the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

He was granted a playoff waiver, qualified for the playoffs by winning and climbing back into the top 30 in the point standings during the remainder of the 26-race regular season, and ended up winning the championship despite running just 25 of 36 races on the schedule.

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The Goodyear 400 is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 from Darlington Raceway beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, May 8. Start a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss any of the action!