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David Ragan Will Fill in For Kyle Busch in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Behind Wheel of No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota Starting in Atlanta

Kyle Busch Transferred To Charlotte Area Hospital

Erik Jones Will Pilot No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota In NASCAR XFINITY Series in Atlanta

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 24, 2015) – Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that David Ragan will fill in for Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch was released this morning from Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL and transferred to a hospital near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina for further treatment. Busch sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident.

No specific timetable has been announced for Busch’s return to the race track. It is expected that Ragan will pilot the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota for at least the next several weeks. Ragan’s current race team Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated the move by Ragan and Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season.

Additional updates on Busch’s condition will be provided as necessary.

In addition, JGR announces that Erik Jones will pilot the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend in Atlanta. An announcement on who will drive the Monster Energy Camry following Atlanta will be made at a later date.

Ragan has run eight full seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 291 career starts. The 29-year-old Georgia native has two career wins, including most recently at Talladega Superspeedway in May of 2013.

Jones is currently running a full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and a partial schedule for JGR in the No. 20 NASCAR XFINITY Series Camry.

“We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David’s (Ragan) availability,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David’s caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers. Erik is a big part of our future at JGR and we will be increasing his schedule in the XFINITY Series beginning this weekend in Atlanta and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience. We appreciate all the support we have received from the NASCAR community including our fans and we look forward to getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible.”

“Everyone at Mars is thankful that Kyle is doing well and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery,” said William Clements, vice president of sponsorship and sports marketing for Mars Incorporated. “While we can’t wait until Kyle returns behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota, we are excited to work with David and we’re pleased JGR was able to work it out for him to step in during Kyle’s absence.”

Fans #BowForKyle on Lap 18 of the Daytona 500

Kyle Busch fans took to social media on Sunday during the Daytona 500 to show their support for the driver of the No.18 M&M’S Crispy & No.54 Monster Energy Toyota who was injured Saturday in a wreck during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. On lap 18 of the race, fans reenacted Kyle’s trademark victory celebration by bowing to wish their favorite driver a speedy recovery. The #BowForKyle hashtag was seem over 1 million times through fans posting their photos, video, and messages in support of Kyle. The #BowForKyle campaign will continue each week on Lap 18 as he recuperates.

Enjoy some of the photos and videos sent in from fans:


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Daytona 500 Race Report

An injury to Kyle Busch in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race altered the Joe Gibbs Racing lineup prior to today’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

Veteran driver Matt Crafton would fill in for Busch, who suffered a broken right leg and left foot late in Saturday’s race and was unable to take the wheel of his No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota. Crafton would arrive in Daytona late Saturday night and was up early to get fitted for a seat and debrief with crew chief Adam Stevens in preparation for The Great American Race. The change in driver forced Crafton to start the race from the back of the field relinquishing the fourth position which Busch had earned during Thursday’s duel races. Crafton would spend the first half of the race hanging at the back of the field while he became familiar with the Camry’s handling. He would move forward as the laps began to wind down toward the checkered flag and was battling for a spot inside the top 10 late, but a caution would set up a green-white-checker finish and an accident on the final lap would cause Crafton to lose position at the finish. He would go on to finish 18th.

Busch had successful surgery Saturday night on his broken leg and is expected to return to Charlotte this week for additional evaluation by the medical team. Joe Gibbs Racing will provide additional updates on his condition as needed.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Camry from the back of the field but was able to maneuver his way toward the front over the course of the early portion of the race. Hamlin would race inside the top five through much of the first half of the race. Following a restart with 19 laps to go Hamlin would make his way back to the front of the field in a thrilling multi-lap three wide battle. A late caution would set up a green-white-checker finish and Hamlin would restart second. Unfortunately the cars behind him didn’t get a great jump on the restart to provide the No. 11 FedEx Camry the momentum needed to take the top spot and he would get shuffled back to a fourth-place finish.

It was also a historic day for JGR as the organization officially launched its fourth team with veteran Carl Edwards making his first start for the team and ARRIS sponsoring its first race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota from the fourth position and ran in the top five for much of the first half of the race. Edwards would lead a lap during a round of green flag pit stops but then was penalized for speeding on pit road on lap 89 and had to serve a pass through penalty. The ARRIS Camry would remain on the lead lap however and Edwards would work his way back to the front of the field to lead on lap 166. Unfortunately his line would not get going and Edwards would be shuffled back. He was fighting for position on the two-lap green-white-checker finish when he got shuffled back and avoided a big final lap wreck to be scored in 23rd at the finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 35th position and had proven to have a fast race car all week. The winner of the Sprint Unlimited all-star race the week prior would get caught up in a wreck on lap 42 when the 14 car slide up the track and forced Kenseth to make contact with the wall. Although he was able to keep his Dollar General Camry from race ending damage, the Dollar General team would have to make multiple trips down pit road for repairs. Kenseth would eventually fall two laps off the pace and the cautions needed to try and make his way back on the lead lap never fell at the right times. He would go on to finish the day 35th.

Joey Logano of Penske Racing captured the win, followed by Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson was fifth. There were seven cautions for a total of 26 laps and 27 lead changes among 12 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next week with live coverage on Fox starting Sunday, March 1 at Noon ET (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

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Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing Regarding Injury Status of Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident.

Busch was transported to a local hospital for treatment immediately following the accident and is currently undergoing surgery on his right leg.

Busch’s injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Veteran Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch’s No. 18 Toyota during Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for the following race March 1 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, or for any future races.