It is no secret that I am not a fan of either of the Busch brothers. Every time I think Kyle has matured, he shows up acting like a fool again.
I cannot let the Kyle Busch incident pass us by. Last week we were already scheduled to run the Tripp Rogers piece before this story broke, so I missed the chance to comment.
You’ve probably heard it, but in case you missed it, Kyle Busch was issued a 128 mph speeding ticket in a 45 mph zone in North Carolina late last month.
On Friday, a reporter asked Cup driver Ryan Newman if it was hard for NASCAR drivers to stay within the speed limit on public roads.
Newman’s response explained that it’s not hard if you’re a professional. "Just like a hockey player: Is it hard for him not to go fight somebody in a grocery line?” he said.
Kyle’s official response to the ticket seemed more like an excuse. His official response said:
"Today, I received a traffic citation in Iredell County. I was test-driving a new sports car, and I got carried away. I went beyond the speed I should have been going on a public road. I apologize to the public, my fans, sponsors and race teams for my lack of judgment. I take responsibility for my actions and I can assure you that something like this will never happen again. I thank the Iredell County Sheriff's Department and all law enforcement for the hard work they do every day to protect the public and to enforce the laws in a fair and equitable manner."
Here’s where the trouble brews: a few weeks ago NASCAR fined Kyle Busch $25,000, and put him on probation for four races after an argument with Kevin Harvick on Darlington’s pit road. The probation applied to last week’s Coca-Cola 600 and this week’s race at Kansas.
Some have wondered if the speeding ticket should count against Kyle’s probation. NASCAR says no. "This is a matter Kyle will have to handle with the authorities in Iredell County," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "Based on what we know right now, this would not impact his status as a NASCAR driver."
I think to find the answer, we need to look back no further than Kyle’s own brother, Kurt. Kurt Busch was sidelined for the final two races of the 2005 season because of an incident with the Phoenix police.
Reports said that Kurt was pulled over near the racetrack in Pheonix after swerving around a slower car, and running a stop sign. When the officer spoke to Busch, he simply said: ”You ought to be directing traffic.” And perhaps worse yet, Kurt asked the officer, “Don’t you know who I am?” Reports said that Kurt’s breathe smelled of alcohol, but breath-alcohol machines malfunctioned.
Kurt was not scheduled to ride the 2006 season with Jack Roush Racing. The team let him go, saying, “We’re officially retiring as Kurt Busch’s apologists, effective today.”
Isn’t it time that Joe Gibbs or NASCAR stop apologizing for Kyle Busch? The young tempered driver refuses to grow up. How is it that the sport can keep making excuses for him? Joe Gibbs Racing is supposed to be committed to a clean image. Yet, Kyle's behavior is not.
In the future, NASCAR should clarify what probation means. I think that Kyle's complete disregard for human safety should qualify towards more serious penalties. The problem is the sport doesn't want to lose one of its stars, and will just turn their heads the other way.
Team owners also should take a piece out of Roush Racing's book. Kurt Busch's troubles may have been years ago, but no team has come down that hard on one of their stars since that incident. Why not? Apparently they are all too scared to do so. But, look at what it did for Kurt Busch? His behavior has drastically improved since he was parked in 2005.
So what are your thoughts on this incident? Should NASCAR penalize Kyle Busch more? Should Joe Gibbs throw down the axe?