Wondering what the going rate for an obscene gesture is in NASCAR these days? That'd be $25,000 for the middle finger.
It's Penalty Tuesday in NASCAR, and Kyle Busch put himself square in Daytona's crosshairs when he flipped off a NASCAR official on Sunday afternoon. He was penalized two laps then, and now he's been hit with a $25,000 fine and probation until the end of the year.
Yes, $25,000. Bear in mind that the 18 team earned over $140,000 for its Texas work, in which it finished 32nd place. (Because of NASCAR's wacky owners' bonus structure, Busch still made more than David Ragan, who finished in eighth place.)
In other words, this is the financial equivalent of a slap on the wrist for a multimillion-dollar team like Joe Gibbs Racing. NASCAR had to do something — you can't just go and flip off an official — but this was a "come on, use your head" penalty rather than a "we will break your will" penalty.
In response, Kyle had this to say (via NASCAR.com):
"I accept NASCAR’s penalty and realize what I did during Sunday’s race at Texas was inappropriate. Even in my relatively short time here in NASCAR, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Sometimes that passion has allowed me to find that little something extra I needed to win, and other times it’s made me cross the line. Sunday at Texas was one of those days. I lost my cool, plain and simple. It’s not acceptable, and I know that. I apologize to NASCAR, its fans, all the partners who support Joe Gibbs Racing, and all the people who work so hard to give me a racecar that’s capable of winning races every week. All of those people deserve better from me, and I owe it to them to keep my emotions in check."
No telling whether his fingers were crossed, or anything else, when he said that.
- Joe Gibbs Racing