NASCAR has spoken regarding further penalties for Kyle Busch, and the word is this: a $50,000 fine plus probation until the end of the year. But he will be in the car for Phoenix and Homestead.
This, of course, is in addition to the potential winnings lost by not running in the Nationwide or Sprint series races in Texas over the weekend. And Joe Gibbs Racing has not announced if it will level any in-house penalties on Busch.
Busch lost substantial money for himself and his team by missing two races over the weekend. In the Sprint Cup series, Busch averaged a 12th-place finish this year; at Texas that paid David Ragan $116,625. In Nationwide, Busch averaged a fifth-place finish, which at Texas paid Brad Keselowski $24,225.
NASCAR has also begun the laborious process of drawing definitive lines for behavior, lines that the sport has until now been loath to set down in writing. "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." In other words: no more retaliation, Kyle ... if, of course, you believe the threats.
The major problem with the Kyle Busch suspension isn't that it happened, it's that NASCAR needs to establish precedent rather than pulling a "know it when we see it" approach. Now we know where the line is for any driver retaliating while the race is under caution, and potentially during green-flag runs as well.