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Joe Gibbs Racing Names David Ragan Interim Driver of the No. 18

February 24th, 2015 by
David Ragan

David Ragan will pilot the No. 18 M&M’s/Interstate Batteries Toyota while Kyle Busch recovers.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that Sprint Cup driver David Ragan will replace Kyle Busch in the No.18 Interstate Batteries/M&M’s Toyota until Kyle recovers from serious injuries sustained Saturday night in the NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway.

David has run eight full seasons in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 291 career starts.  The 29-year-old Georgia native has two career Sprint Cup wins including most recently at Talladega Superspeedway in May 2013.

He will drive the 18 for at least the next several weeks. This will include the Interstate Batteries Sprint Cup paint scheme coming up in Fontana, CA on March 22 and possibly at Texas Motor Speedway on April 11.

After surgery in Daytona Saturday night to repair the compound fracture of his right lower leg and three nights recovering in the hospital,  Kyle was flown to Charlotte where he will be undergo further evaluation of bones broken in his left foot and rehab on his injured leg.

Joe Gibbs: “Kyle is eager to return…”

JGR Team Owner Joe Gibbs held a press conference Sunday and, according to Foxsports.com, would not speculate on how long Kyle will need to return.

“As far as time or length, I haven’t really … I don’t think I have a really good understanding of that with the doctors and everything,” said Gibbs. “I think we’re just going to pray for him to bounce back.”

Coach Gibbs said Kyle is eager to return. “He’s already telling Sam (wife), ‘I just want to get back to racing,'” Coach said. “He has a great spirit about things like that.”

Erik Jones will sub for Kyle Busch in Saturday's Xfinity Series race in Atlanta. Copyright 2015 Autostock Images

Erik Jones will sub for Kyle Busch in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race in Atlanta. Copyright 2015 Autostock Images

Erik Jones to Sub for Kyle in Xfinity Series

In addition, JGR announced 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.

Erik 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.

Want to send Get Well wishes to Kyle? Here’s how:

Many of Kyle’s fans are sending Kyle their get-well-soon messages on social media. One popular hashtag is #BowForKyle, where fans imitate Kyle’s trademark Vegas Showman Bow from Victory Lane. Fans can post their bows anytime, but they’re especially encouraged to post during lap 18 of each Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup Series race while Kyle recovers. Another popular hash tag is #GetWellKyle.   Click here to see the tributes, and post your own on Twitter or Instagram. You can also write simple get-well-soon messages and send them to Kyle Busch, Kyle Busch Motorsports, 351 Mazeppa Road, Mooresville, NC 28115.

Crew Chief Adam Stevens upbeat about Kyle’s quick recovery

Regarding Kyle’s accident and injuries, Adam Stevens, Kyle’s new crew chief said, “Everybody is in high spirits to start this season. We got the wind taken out of our sails (Saturday), but we’ve all been in communication with Kyle and we know that he’s a strong person and he’s going to come back stronger than ever. Whatever the doctors tell him, he’s probably going to shave about three or four weeks off of that and be beating on our door,” Nascar.com reported.

JGR teams pull together in support of the 18

“Joe Gibbs Racing has always operated with a one team philosophy,” said JD Gibbs, President. “Although we have four cars on the race track each week competing against each other and 39 other competitors, the crew chiefs, drivers and team members all work together to share information and assist one another however possible to give each team its best opportunity to be successful.”

Watch for Kyle Busch Updates

JGR and Interstate will provide updates as soon as they are available. Take a moment to encourage Kyle and Samantha Busch by posting a message using this twitter hashtag: #BowForKyle

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