NASCAR announced today that Kyle Busch will be eligible to make the Chase for the Championship if he wins within the next fifteen races and break into the top 30 of the points standings.
The waiver is granted to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver after missing the first 11 races of the season due to injuries sustained in an XFINITY Series crash at Daytona International Speedway back in February, a day prior to the Sprint Cup Series’ season opener, the Daytona 500.
“Our decision to grant Kyle a waiver that allows him to continue running for a championship is one we discussed extensively,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said. “The spirit of the rule never was designed to punish drivers who are unable to compete due to extenuating circumstances such as recovering from a racing accident.”
Under the current guidelines of the Chase format, drivers and car owners must start all points events of the current season to be eligible, unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR.
Busch will make his first start of the season Saturday night in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, a non-points paying event that will not count towards Chase eligibility should he win.
The maximum points a driver can gain in a race is 48.
Currently, the driver sitting 30th in the standings is Tony Stewart at 179 points and is on pace for 423 at the end of the regular season.
In order for Busch to break into the top 30 he would have to average 28.2 points per race.
The task that lies before the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is a tall one, but the achievement would be unprecedented if he should qualify for the Chase and without question the most controversial in NASCAR history should he win his first Sprint Cup title.
Image: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images