Although NASCAR has finished issuing penalties against Kyle Busch, the sponsors of his NASCAR Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series ride may still have a say in his ultimate punishment. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that on November 4, 2011 Kyle Busch was racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway when he made contact with Ron Hornday. During the caution, Busch decided to retaliate against Hornaday by pushing him into the wall, until his truck was sufficiently wrecked. NASCAR immediately parked Busch for the remainder of the race weekend, including the Sprint Cup Series race. Busch was a part of the Chase for the Cup, and this effectively ended any remaining hopes he had of improving his rank. On Monday, NASCAR put the driver on probation of the remainder of the 2011 season and fined him $50,000.
However, the true punishment for what happened Friday night may come from Busch’s sponsors. The Mars, Incorporated, the manufacturer of M&M and Snickers, has indicated extreme displeasure at his actions. Z-Line Designs, the sponsor of his Nationwide Series car, has flexed its muscle to have the driver removed for the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Earlier on Thursday, Z-Line Designs asked Joe Gibbs Racing to replace Busch with Denny Hamlin, who finished runner-up last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. While Busch is allowed to race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend by NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing has not confirmed his status for the Kobalt Tools 500.
I can’t recall another time that this has happened in NASCAR. Generally, NASCAR’s punishments were the end of the road. Sponsors rarely, if ever, have been so upset by something that has happened on the track that the company or organization would request the driver to be removed. But then again, drivers generally do not wreck each other during cautions laps. Wrecks are definitely apart of the game and some of the best drivers were great at bumping another driver out of the way. However, this occurred during a caution lap and it was way more than just a bump.
Busch may lose out on the rest of the season and potentially a ride for 2012 because of issues that NASCAR already handled. Hopefully he will get another chance to show the sport that he can behave.
Kyle Busch is suppose to have his NASCAR media availability tomorrow morning at 11:30am EST. Stay tuned with StockCarSpin.com for the latest on this ever developing story.
What do you think? Should Joe Gibbs Racing park him for the remainder of the year or was the NASCAR punishment enough? Let us know.