November 05, 2011
Kyle Busch has been parked for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race and Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway after intentionally crashing Ron Hornaday in Friday night's Camping World Truck Series race.
"[Busch being parked for Friday night's race is] done under section 9.12 of the rulebook, that gives NASCAR the authority to react during a race weekend. And following the event and after a good deal of conversation and discussion, NASCAR has decided to maintain that parked position on the driver of the 18 truck for the balance of the weekend," NASCAR president Mike Helton said Saturday morning.
"So basically what that means is that Kyle Busch will not be participating today or tomorrow in the NASCAR event here in Texas."
Joe Gibbs, Busch's team owner in the Cup and Nationwide Series, was at home in North Carolina and not at the track Friday night. He flew to Texas Saturday morning and met with NASCAR officials and Busch. Gibbs said he "trusts" NASCAR's decision. He would not divulge what he told Busch in their 1-on-1 meeting, but did say they "needed to get out here and meet with everybody we needed to meet with." In other words, Busch, who was not kicked out of the track, needs to make the rounds to apologize.
Busch's suspension is the first for a driver after the "Boys have at it" declaration from NASCAR — a statement that's been pointed to numerous times over the past two years when it comes to driver discipline.
"The responsibility that over the past two or three seasons we've given back to the drivers came, I think, with a very clear understanding that there could be a line that got crossed," Helton said. "And as annoying as the comments that I've made personally in the past of 'we'll know it when we see it' might have been, we saw it last night."
Michael McDowell will drive Busch's No. 18 car on Sunday.
Busch is currently in seventh place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, 57 points behind points leader Carl Edwards with three races to go. Busch met with series officials before the start of Saturday morning's first practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.
The actions NASCAR took Saturday are not unprecedented. Both Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon have been suspended for Cup races for actions on the track in other series. Perhaps somewhat ironically, Harvick's suspension came in 2002 after crashing Coy Gibbs — son of Joe Gibbs, Busch's Sprint Cup Series owner — in a Truck race at Martinsville. Harvick owns Hornaday's truck. Earlier this season, Harvick and Busch had a meeting on pit road after the Sprint Cup race in Darlington in May. Busch was also in a confrontation with Richard Childress, Harvick's owner in the Sprint Cup Series, after Busch raced RCR driver Joey Coulter hard for position in the Truck race at Kansas in June.
Got all that?
Gordon was suspended for the cartoonish finish to the Montreal Nationwide race in 2007 and disobeying NASCAR orders to serve a penalty. That was the last time NASCAR parked a driver for a Cup race.
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