As 2011 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back on five of the most memorable moments from the year in NASCAR.
1. Kyle Busch Intentionally Wrecks Ron Hornaday, Jr. at Texas Motor Speedway
Kyle Busch has caused a lot of trouble this season. One of the most memorable moments for the younger Busch occurred on November 4, 2011, while he was driving in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. During the first caution, Busch intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday, Jr. and forced him out of the race, ending any hopes of winning the 2011 championship the driver had. NASCAR stepped up and parked Busch for the remainder of the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and fined him $50,000. Parking Busch caused NASCAR fans around the country to be split. Should Busch have been parked for the weekend? That question is still debated today.
2. Kurt Busch Gets Fired from Penske Racing
Kurt Busch was just as controversial as his baby brother this season. During the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch’s No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge had mechanical trouble and he was forced to exit the race early. Busch made an obscene gesture that was captured on the ESPN cameras, and then he ended up going off on a verbal and obscene tirade to Dr. Jerry Punch who had come to interview the driver for ESPN’s coverage. The tirade was captured on a cell phone camera by a fan and later went viral on YouTube. Busch was fined by NASCAR and later fired by Penske Racing. As of today, Kurt Busch as no ride for the 2012 season.
3. Red Bull Racing Leaves NASCAR
In June, Red Bull Racing owners announced that they planned to sell the team or shut down after the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The team had been the home of Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne in 2011, as well as A.J. Allmendinger in 2007, and Scott Speed from 2008-2010. 2009 was by far their best season in NASCAR. Vickers and the No.83 won their first race for the organization at Michigan International Speedway and got them into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kahne won the team’s last race at Phoenix International Raceway in the second to last race of the 2011 season. Although Kahne has joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Vickers is without a ride for next season.
4. Darian Grubb Fired from Stewart-Haas Racing After Winning the 2011 Sprint Cup
While Darian Grubb was the crew chief for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, it came as a shocker to fans that he was actually being fired after the season. Grubb, who told the media after winning the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, had been notified of his impending unemployement at the Charlotte race in October. In the awkward post race interview, Grubb said he was “pleading” to be given the rest of the season. After leaving SHR, Grubb landed at Joe Gibbs Racing to be the crew chief for Denny Hamlin, whose crew chief Mike Ford was fired.
5. Trevor Bayne Wins the Daytona 500
The youngest driver to win the Great American Race gave the historic Wood Brothers team its fifth Daytona 500, the first since 1976 with David Pearson. In just his second Sprint Cup start, the 20 year old Bayne stunned NASCAR’s biggest names with a thrilling overtime win holding off Carl Edwards. “Our first 500, are you kidding me?” said Bayne, who needed directions to Victory Lane. “Wow. This is unbelievable.” The victory for NASCAR pioneers Leonard and Glen Wood ended their 10 year losing streak.
2011 is in the books as far as NASCAR goes. I wonder what is in store for 2012. What were some of your favorite NASCAR memories? Let us know!
Tags: A.J. Allmendinger Brian Vickers Darian Grubb Daytona International Speedway Homestead-Miami Speedway Joe Gibbs Racing Kasey Kahne Kurt Busch Kyle Busch Michigan International Raceway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway Red Bull Racing Ron Hornaday Jr Scott Speed Stewart-Haas Racing Texas Motor Speedway Tony Stewart Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Racing