Obviously, Kyle Busch’s absence from the race track is not a matter of choice, but Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin believes the time away from the No. 18 Toyota will give Busch a different perspective.
A driver who likes to race at every opportunity, Busch was sidelined indefinitely after breaking his right leg and left foot during a crash in the Feb. 21 NASCAR XFINITY Series race.
Hamlin can empathize.
The driver of the No. 11 JGR Toyota Camry missed four races in 2013 after fracturing his back in an accident at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
“He’s definitely paying a lot of attention to the races and what he sees from the outside,” Hamlin said of Busch. “I think he’s very engaged and obviously making the best of the situation that he’s got. I know when I was out two years ago, it just gives you a different perspective and a different way to look at things.
“I’m sure coming back he’ll probably be a lot more appreciative of the time he’s got inside that race car because he knows how quickly it can go away.”
And if Busch is missing races, the JGR organization is missing something, too — the driver’s expertise in interpreting what his race car is doing on the track.
“It’s a shame, because we just had our driver lineup right where we wanted it with the four of us (Busch, Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards), and we felt like this was going to be a good thing, and I was looking forward to hearing some more feedback from Kyle, but obviously (substitute driver) David (Ragan) has done a great job.
“But we’re excited to get Kyle back just as soon as we can just for the reason that this is the four-driver dynamic that (team owner) Joe (Gibbs) put together, and we hope to bring our race teams, all of them, up to a higher level. Right now we’re just missing just a little something.”