A day after suffering a broken right leg and left foot in a Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Busch had his first hospital visitor.
It was Tony Stewart, who had been sidelined in August 2013 by a sprint car accident that had caused a compound fracture of his right leg.
As Busch's mind raced through possible dire consequences of his injuries, Stewart was there to offer support and counsel.
"Tony was actually the first one to the hospital," Busch said on Saturday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). "As soon as the Daytona 500 was over, he was there. He actually told everybody that was on his plane that they were going to wait. He was there for about four hours. We had a good talk.
“We had a good discussion about just what it was like and the process that he had to go through and how long it was probably going to be or what it was going to be. In all reality, our injuries were the same but entirely different. His was much more severe than mine. Just being able to talk with him, my mind-set was OK.”
Stewart helped allay Busch’s fears that his injury might be career-ending.
“At first I was like, ‘I’m never going to race again, and I don’t know what I’m going to do’—all those things go through your mind,” Busch said. “You just continue to power through and listen to your doctors and those that are around you and, of course, my wife and the support system that I had.
“I wouldn’t call it painless. There was certainly a lot of pain, but it went really, really well as far as you could say any injury healing goes. I was pretty pleased with everything.”
If recent results are any indication, Busch has returned stronger than ever. He has won three of the last four Sprint Cup events, at Sonoma, Kentucky and New Hampshire.