Kyle Busch Jumps Out of Nationwide Ride Due to Illness

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IOctober 10, 2009

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, waits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on October 10, 2009 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

In the Nationwide race at Auto Club Speedway this afternoon, it was announced that Kyle Busch would get out of his car at the first pit stop.

Busch has been battling strep throat, a sinus infection, and the flu all week.  He practiced his Cup car prior to the Nationwide race, but said he was feeling worse and worse as the practice continued.

Before strapping in, Busch advised his team that he felt about "a 5 out of 10" as far as his ability to perform.  His biggest concern is the heat factor, which makes him feel worse as the afternoon race wears on.

"When I get in the car and get hot, I just can't see straight," said Busch.  "Getting hotter throughout the race was not in my best interest."

Busch also wanted to rest up for the full 500 miles of the Cup race on Sunday.

Fellow Cup driver Denny Hamlin was standing by, waiting to step into the car, on that first pit stop.  Hamlin sat on the box with the crew, plugged into the race scanner and ready to relieve his ill teammate when required.

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In spite of his illness, Kyle Busch took the lead away from pole sitter Joey Logano in the first few laps of the race.  He led most of the race but still decided to abandon the car in favor of his health.

The team and drivers managed to execute a flawless transition on the first pit stop.  Hamlin, ensconced in the race car, restarted the No. 18 Toyota in the 18th position.