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Nick Bromberg

Kyle Busch penalized for one-finger salute of NASCAR official

After feeling he'd been penalized unfairly for speeding on pit road, Kyle Busch was penalized two more laps for flipping off the NASCAR official assigned to his pit stall during Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

On Lap 160, Busch spun in the middle of Turns 1 and 2. He didn't have much damage, but he did have four flat tires. After a pit stop, it looked like Busch had beaten the pace car out of the pits by mere feet to stay on the lead lap.

Instead, NASCAR said that Busch had sped off of pit road in his attempt to stay on the lead lap and penalized him one lap. Predictably, Busch was livid on the radio, saying the penalty was cow dung, then made clear how he felt with a hand gesture to the NASCAR offical.

"I'm the only one who will stand up to [NASCAR]," Busch screamed over the radio, and said that he was just practicing his first amendment rights.

Anyone who's followed NASCAR for an extended period of time knows that NASCAR isn't a democracy and free speech isn't guaranteed. Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin were each fined $50,000 for comments about NASCAR and showbusiness earlier in the season, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized 25 points for saying a four-letter word in a victory lane celebration in 2004.

Joe Gibbs Racing President JD Gibbs said he didn't expect that Busch would be penalized further for his outburst on Sunday.

"Yeah, I think overall, it's just he did something there that got caught on TV," Gibbs said. "Everyone saw it and I think it was their way of saying 'Hey, here's our game; if you want to play, here's the rules you play by.' I'd be surprised if there's any more penalties coming, but that was frustrating because we had a pretty good car and a pretty good -- we thought we had a shot at having a good performance there."

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