HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – official team release – Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America photo –
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday 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, Fla., and transferred to a hospital near his home in Charlotte, N.C., 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.
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.”