Monday, November 7, 2011

NASCAR finishes the Kyle Busch situation

Believe it or not, life could be worse for Kyle Busch.

Sure, NASCAR smacked him with a $50,000 fine and put him on serious probation for the rest of the year, but Busch will race this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

For that, he should be plenty thankful. Plenty of people would have him banned from all racing facilities for the final two weeks of the season.

The NASCAR leaders were obviously very upset with Busch’s actions Friday night in the truck race at Texas when he intentionally wrecked championship contender Ron Hornaday.

In the “Boys, have at it” era, it takes a lot to get NASCAR angry, but Busch certainly provoked the big dog enough so that it came and took a big bite out of him.

NASCAR has lots of different penalties in its toolbox, and it is pretty judicious in choosing the right penalty for the job, but Busch got the sledgehammer Saturday morning when NASCAR President Mike Helton announced Busch would be forced to stay out of his cars for the rest of the weekend.

But, the NASCAR brass kept the door open that additional penalties might be on the way for Busch.

All things considered, Busch made out about as well as possible with a fine and probation.

Many people thought NASCAR might park Busch for the final two races of the season. While parking a driver for the remainder of a race weekend after an incident in an earlier race isn’t unprecedented, a full-blown suspension for multiple races because of aggressive driving is, and NASCAR certainly already made its point.

Yes, what Busch did Friday night was obviously wrong, but the core emotions behind his actions were no different than what many drivers have felt throughout NASCAR history. Unfortunately for Busch, he made a really stupid decision at a very bad time.

Now, this doesn’t mean Busch is in the clear. His primary sponsor, M&M’s/Mars was upset with the situation, and has expressed those concerns to Joe Gibbs Racing. Why does that matter? Sponsors have the money, and therefore have power.

If M&M’s believe Busch has gone too far and no longer represents its brand in a positive manner, Joe Gibbs Racing might be faced with an extremely difficult decision. Keep Busch or keep the sponsor?

Also, don’t forget about the probation side to this penalty. Probation is often overlooked as just words that have little meaning behind them, but not this time. NASCAR made sure everyone understood that it means business with this one.

“If, during the remaining NASCAR events in 2011 there is another action by the competitor that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, the competitor will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR,” according to the statement accompaning the penalty.

Make no mistake, that competitor is Kyle Busch.

NASCAR doesn’t usually add a clarification to its probation penalty, but this time we all know what Busch won’t be doing if he is involved in another ruckus. He certainly won’t be racing.

Hopefully the situation is over with this ruling. Busch likely will be very careful in the next two weeks to mind his manners and try to win back some much-needed respect in the garage area. That might be his biggest penalty.


  1. trash kyle and move on

  2. Now that the fans have all caled for Kyle's head, I hope they understand the precedence this sets. Next time "Happy" or "cuz" go screaming down pit lane and spin cars into crew members, or send somebody into the catch fence they get to miss a Cup race.

  3. Anonymous II - The precedent in this type of situation that has not yet been set is if something like this happened in a Cup race. Does that mean the driver is done for the following week? I would still be kind of suprised if NASCAR did that.

  4. Just wonder if the same outcome would have happened if say Dale Sr. or Dale Jr. would have done what Kyle did Friday night. Probably not, people would have said that Hornaday deserved what he got. All the Kyle Busch haters out there, get over it, he is one of the best out there and always will be!!!!