Kyle Busch to race before start of Sprint Cup season

Kyle Busch feels healthy enough after offseason surgery that he will get back in a race car two weeks prior to the start of the NASCAR season.

The defending Sprint Cup Series champion will compete in the Champion Racing Association SpeedFest main event, a 200-lap asphalt late model race Jan. 31 at the three-eighths-mile Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia.

Busch, who has won SpeedFest three times (2009, 2010 and 2012), will compete in cars built and fielded out of his Kyle Busch Motorsports shop.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver had surgery Dec. 17 to remove a rod out of his right leg and plates out of his left foot, which he had injured in a Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway. He missed 11 Cup races but won five of the final 25 on his way to capturing his first Sprint Cup title.

With a ban on testing beyond NASCAR-sanctioned tests, Busch's first opportunity in his Sprint Cup car this year will come Feb. 12 with practice Daytona International Speedway for the 75-lap exhibition Sprint Unlimited race set for Feb. 13. The 2016 Daytona 500 kicks off the season Feb. 21.

"Everything went well with my latest surgery, and I feel really good," Busch said in a statement. "Without an opportunity to get in a Sprint Cup Series car before we get to Daytona, running this race will be a good tune-up prior to Speedweeks."