Nationwide sponsor seeks to replace Kyle Busch with Denny Hamlin at Homestead

Jay Busbee
From the Marbles

Think the Kyle Busch suspension story ended when Busch sat for two races this past weekend at Texas? Think again.

The AP is reporting that Z-Line Designs has asked Joe Gibbs Racing to replace Busch with Denny Hamlin in the season-ending Nationwide race at Homestead next weekend. Busch is not slated to race in the Nationwide series at Phoenix.

NASCAR considered its role in the matter resolved once it suspended Busch in Texas, but clearly Busch's sponsors feel differently. And Joe Gibbs Racing has made no statement regarding whether Busch will run in the final two Sprint Cup races at Phoenix and Homestead. Busch is on the entry list for Phoenix, but could be replaced by another driver.

According to the AP, Busch's primary sponsor, M&M's, continues to weigh how it will handle the Busch situation. Options on the table would include everything from a public expression of disappointment (already issued) to a termination of the sponsor relationship.

If that were to happen, it would be a tremendous blow to one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR. Busch has won over 100 races in the sport's national touring series, and while the majority of those have been in truck- and Nationwide-level races, his undeniable skill behind the wheel makes him a threat every week to win.

This latest incident, however, is yet another in a long line of problems; this year alone, Busch has been ticketed for excessive speeding in a school zone, battled with Kevin Harvick on pit road at Darlington, been involved in an altercation with Richard Childress, and deliberately wrecked Elliot Sadler in a trucks race. Every time he appears to calm down and take a step forward in maturity, he leaps backward with another tantrum.

Should M&M's or even Joe Gibbs Racing let Kyle go, there would be no shortage of suitors waiting to snap him up; temperamental or not, the guy is phenomenally talented, with a now-energized, us-against-the-world fanbase. He's not going anywhere from NASCAR for a long time. Beyond that? We have to wait and see.

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