DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot in a vicious hit Saturday into a concrete wall during the Xfinity Series race. He'll miss the Daytona 500 on Sunday and is out indefinitely.
Busch sustained a right lower leg compound fracture and left mid-foot fracture in the crash with eight laps remaining. Joe Gibbs Racing said he was undergoing surgery on his right leg.
Matt Crafton, a two-time Truck Series champion, will replace Busch in the No. 18 Toyota on Sunday in the season-opening Sprint Cup Series race. It will be Crafton's Daytona 500 debut.
Busch's injury occurred when his car slammed head-on into an interior wall that did not have an energy-absorbing SAFER barrier. It's a similar injury to the one suffered by Tony Stewart in an August 2013 sprint car crash, but not as severe as Stewart's was — a double compound fracture.
Stewart missed the final 15 races of 2013, couldn't get in a race car until February 2014, and underwent a fourth surgery in December to replace the rod in his leg. He walked with a limp for more than a year.
Stewart tweeted that he "felt terrible" for his former teammate. "He's tough and will bounce back soon. Thinking about you bud!" the three-time NASCAR champion posted.
A somber Joie Chitwood, president of Daytona International Speedway, said the track failed in not having the soft walls and will start next week on having them installed "on every inch of our property."
"The Daytona International Speedway did not live up to its responsibility today. We should have had SAFER barrier there," Chitwood said. "We're going to fix that. We're going to fix that right now."
Ryan Reed won the race, his first career national series victory, in the debut event for Xfinity as sponsor of NASCAR's second-tier series.
Reed, the 21-year-old driver for Roush Fenway Racing, passed Brad Keselowski for the lead on the last lap to grab the win. Diagnosed four years ago with Type 1 diabetes, Reed thanked sponsor Eli Lilly, which runs a "Drive to Stop Diabetes" campaign.
Kurt Busch appeal
Kurt Busch remains suspended and out of the Daytona 500.
A final appeals officer upheld NASCAR's suspension Saturday night, ending Busch's already-slim hopes of racing Sunday.
Kurt Busch was suspended indefinitely Friday after a Delaware judge said the 2004 champion almost surely choked and beat his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, last fall at Dover International Speedway.
The decision means both Busch brothers are out of the "Great American Race" for the first time since 2000.