- Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2011 00:00
- Published on Wednesday, 09 November 2011 00:00
- Hits: 805
Much has been written and speculated about the limits of NASCAR’s “Boys have at it policy.” We found out last weekend when Kyle Busch, who was sitting 7th in this year’s “Chase” with just three races left in the season, was parked for the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. This after a dustup with Ron Hornaday Jr. in Friday’s truck race.
The disciplinary action took Busch out of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 and assured his dropping to the 12th and final place in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Joe Gibbs immediately set about a mission of damage control contacting the race teams’ various sponsors in an effort to sooth any ruffled feathers among team sponsors over the loss of exposure. The various sponsors on the No. 18 Toyota have invested big bucks to see their company name and logo splashed across the No. 18 on TV screens in homes all across America every
It doesn’t get much harsher than this, for rough and tumble activities on the track. This incident had nothing to do with the real show, but occurred during Friday night’s Camping World Truck Race run before a near empty grandstand. Busch was driving a truck from his own team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. He tried to pass Ron Hornaday on the outside. Hornaday drifted out towards the wall. The two trucks touched a couple of times and both scrapped the outside wall causing each truck some damage. NASCAR brought out the caution flag. With the field still running well over a hundred miles an hour Busch went after Hornaday and sent him spinning head-on into the wall. Fortunately, Hornaday was not injured.
NASCAR President Mike Helton met with the media Saturday and said, “As annoying as the comments that I’ve made personally in the past about ‘we’ll know it when we see it’ might have been, we saw it Friday night. Obviously after the event a lot of folks put their heads together to decide what we would do. We understand the ramifications or the ripple effect of us making this decision.”
Only on two previous occurrences has NASCAR taken the step of cross-series sanctions. In 2002 Kevin Harvick was parked from a Sunday Cup race at Martinsville Speedway for actions in Saturday’s truck race. In 2007 Robby Gordon was parked for a Sunday Cup Race at Pocono Raceway for his actions in Saturday’s Nationwide race in Montreal.
When they arrived at the track Saturday morning, Joe and J.D Gibbs said that Denny Hamlin would drive the No. 18 Toyota in Saturday’s Nationwide race, and Michael McDowell would drive Busch’s Cup car on Sunday.
Saturday, Busch released the following statement on the Kyle Busch Motorsports Web Site: “I’ve had a lot of time today to sit and reflect, and try to put my thoughts into words as best I can. I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Friday night’s Truck Series race in Texas. I apologize to my fans, all of my sponsors, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“After talking with my team, it’s great to have their support and encouragement to assure me that there are better days ahead. Even though this took place while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, I am sorry for how difficult it has been for everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series teams.
“I’d also like to apologize to Ron Hornaday, Jr. and everyone associated with the No. 33 team in the truck series.
“I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions.
“As a racecar driver the hardest thing to do is to sit on the sidelines listening to cars on the track when you know you should be out there competing. For this I have no one to blame but myself.
“Through a lot of support from the people around me, I feel like I’ve made a lot of strides this year, but this was certainly a step backward. Moving forward, I will do everything I possibly can to represent everyone involved in a positive manner. However, I know my long term actions will have more bearing than anything I say right now.”