Daytona Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Kyle Busch suffered multiple injuries during a multi-car accident in the closing laps of Saturday's 300-mile Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Busch, 29, will miss Sunday's 57th running of the Daytona 500 and more Sprint Cup Series races following that due to a compound fracture of his right lower leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver underwent surgery on his right leg on Saturday night. Officials from JGR said that Busch's injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time.
JGR announced that Matt Crafton, the two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champion, will substitute for Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for the Daytona 500.
With eight laps remaining in the Xfinity season-opening race at Daytona, Busch was one of 11 drivers involved in the wreck that occurred on the frontstretch. He lost control and then veered off the track before he slid onto the infield grass and slammed head-on into the inside retaining wall. The wall where Busch hit does not have the SAFER (steel and foam energy reduction) barrier on it.
Erik Jones, who is Busch's JGR teammate in Xfinity, triggered the incident when he spun out and collected several cars running in a tight pack. It was the second time in this race a major crash happened on the frontstretch. An accident there on lap 93 involved 11 drivers as well.
Busch struggled to climb out of his heavily damaged No. 54 Toyota and then laid down on the grass near his car, as he appeared to be in excruciating pain.
Safety personnel placed Busch on a stretcher and stabilized his right leg. He was immediately transported by ambulance to nearby Halifax Medical Center.
"Our thoughts and prayers go to Kyle," DIS track president Joie Chitwood III said during a press conference on Saturday night. "Last thing we want to see is a competitor injured here at the Daytona International Speedway."
Chitwood addressed the issue of certain areas around the track that do not have SAFER barriers installed on the walls and vowed that Daytona International Speedway will have the barriers placed "on every inch at this property" in the future.
Ryan Reed won a Xfinity race for the first time in his career after he passed Brad Keselowski on the final lap. Reed, in his second full-season as driver of the No.16 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, received pushing help from his teammate, Chris Buescher, allowing him to get past Keselowski in turn 3.
Reed then held off Buescher at the finish by just 0.089 seconds for his maiden win in a NASCAR national touring series race. It came in his 40th start in Xfinity.
In 2011, Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association and Lilly Diabetes serve as primary sponsors for his No. 16 team.
"Four years ago, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and thought I would never drive a race car again, but now I'm standing in victory lane at Daytona with Roush Fenway," Reed said. "Oh my God, we won Daytona ... This is unreal. It hasn't soaked in yet."
Team owner Jack Roush won a Xfinity race at Daytona for the first time. It was also a 1-2 finish for his team.
One year ago, Buescher failed to qualify for the Xfinity season-opener at Daytona. He was thrilled with his second-place finish here.
"This is great," Buescher said. "That's exactly what we need to come here and do. After the heartbreak of last year, coming down here and not qualifying, it's something we had to rebound from and we knew that. We came down here and started off the Xfinity season in 2015 with a bang."
Ty Dillon finished third, while his elder brother, Austin, a Sprint Cup regular, placed fourth. Keselowski ended up in fifth.
"I definitely had too big of a lead," Keselowski said of the last lap. "There's only so much you can block and the run that (Reed) had was just more than I could block without wrecking everybody, so that's just part of it I guess."
David Starr, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson, Ross Chastain and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top-10.
Chase Elliott, the defending Xfinity champion, was caught up in the first major crash but continued on with minor damage to his No. 9 Chevrolet. Elliott's involvement in the second wreck put him out of the race and left him with a 28th-place finish. It's the first time in his 34 starts in the series that he failed to finish a race.
"It's just a product of this racing," Elliott said. "It's just very tight and you're trying to push and you're not allowed to lock bumpers, so what happens is that guys keep pounding each other's bumpers. All it takes is just to be a little too far left, and when that happens, your car is going to get squirrelly. When it does that, it's just so hard to get back."
The crash on lap 93 happened when rookie Daniel Suarez, who is also a teammate of Busch, got loose and collected several cars. Suarez than ran into Regan Smith, causing Smith's car to flip around before it slid down the track and onto the infield grass. Smith won this race one year ago. He also finished second to Elliott in the point standings.
"I saw the 18 (Suarez) wrecking, then wrecking again and then wrecking a third time, and there was really no where I could go coming out of the corner," Smith said. "I was down as low as I could get. He saved it, saved it, saved it and then I was in trouble. It's unfortunate."
Earlier in the day, Smith prepared for the Daytona 500 after he was tabbed as the substitute driver for Kurt Busch, who was placed on indefinite suspension Friday following a Delaware family court's ruling that more likely than not Busch committed an act of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
This 300-mile race marked the inaugural event for Comcast Xfinity's brand being the title sponsor of the series. Nationwide Insurance had been the title sponsor from 2008-14.