Kurt Busch has experienced his fair shares of ups and downs in 2022. Back in May, he won his first race for 23XI Racing at Kansas Speedway during the same week that he and his wife Ashley's impending divorce was leaked to the press. Then, in late July, Busch's concussion during qualifying for the Cup race at Pocono sidelined the 44-year-old vet indefinitely. Even though he secured a spot in the playoffs with his Kansas win, the 2004 Cup champ has yet to be cleared to return to competition.
Now, Dale Earnhardt Jr. may not know what it's like to go through a divorce, but he does know what it's like to miss a number of races due to concussions. Earnhardt missed the second half of 2016 as a result of concussion-like symptoms, and it was this rough patch that led to the 15-time Most Popular Driver ultimately announcing his retirement in 2017. If there's anyone who can understand the frustration that Kurt Busch is going through right now, it's Dale Jr.
Following Kyle Larson's Xfinity Series win for JR Motorsports at Watkins Glen, Earnhardt fielded several questions about the victory before reporter Bob Pockrass (who had an infamous confrontational interview with Busch back in 2012) turned the conversation to Busch's health issues. Given Earnhardt's experience with concussions (he sustained at least 20 during his career), the JRM co-owner gave his thoughtful perspective regarding Busch's current situation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. came to the media center as the winning owner and after he answered some questions about the win and JRM, I wanted to get his perspective on Kurt Busch and when he could return.
What Dale Jr. said: pic.twitter.com/i3MMpqXw5S
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) August 20, 2022
"There's a lot more to it than just Kurt's health, right?" Earnhardt said. "It affects so many other things going forward. But I think the similarities between my situation in '16 and his are very similar, and there's just no known time when this thing's going to come together for him."
"He could wake up tomorrow and be completely a big giant step further, closer to one hundred percent. Or it could take time. You just don't know it. Just one day you wake up and the wires are back together, and it doesn't make any sense. So, I guess the only thing I would do is just caution everybody that there is no way to know, and he can't and won't come back until he's a hundred percent. It's not a situation that he could try to come in and rough it out being eighty or ninety percent. The other thing too, it's important to make sure the public knows that the doctors make choices for him. He has left it at their hands now."
Last Thursday, Kurt Busch announced via official statement that he would be missing the rest of the regular season due to his injuries, meaning that the earliest he could return would be for the September 4 race at Darlington. Kurt's Cup Series hiatus will undoubtedly set him back when it comes to how he fits into the playoff picture, but as Junior alluded to in his comments, the most important thing for Busch to do at this point is focus on his health and make sure he's firing on all cylinders before making his return.
MORE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Really, Really Had to Poop After His Big Richmond Win in 2000
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