Kurt Busch’s confirmation of the unavoidable on Saturday set the clock in motion for one of the few tasks remaining on his career bucket list, which he will never be able to complete while still a driver. His concussion fueled the rumors at Pocono, along with Tyler Reddick’s unexpected signing with 23XI racing. In all actuality, the NASCAR veteran proclaimed his retirement as the Cup Series landed in Las Vegas to begin the 2022 playoffs, even though he declined to describe it. This sets the stage but not necessarily the timeline for where he adds the highest accolades to his trophy room.
Kurt Busch’s days of regularly competing in the Cup Series are most likely ended, although he seems to have left an open mind to doing so in some capacity. His two-year wait to be considered for the NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot begins at that point. Of course, the qualifications exist. Busch has made 776 starts in the Cup Series since he began competing in it in 2000, winning 34 of them. Daytona 500 (2017) and the 2004 series championship were among the triumphs. It’s just a matter of time until that gets him into the Hall of Fame. Due to a weakness in NASCAR regulations, this might take some time to pan out.
When creating its Hall of Fame, NASCAR was behind the curve. In 2010, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr., and Bill France Jr. made up the first class. The selection committee awarded five nominees annually through 2020 despite the abundance of additional contenders (Leonard Wood didn’t get the nod until 2013, and Bruton Smith didn’t get it until 2016). At that point, the regulations were altered, and the committee reduced the number of yearly recruits to two modern and one pioneer. The recipients of the 2023 awards have already been selected for early 2022. Before Busch is eligible, two more classes of inductees will be added, but it won’t do anything to ease the backlog of candidates.