As annoying as the comments that I’ve made personally in the past about ‘we’ll know it when we see it’ might have been, we saw it last night. Obviously after the event, a lot of folks put their heads together to decide what, if anything, we would do. Then what I’m telling you today is our reaction. - NASCAR President Mike Helton
Since the implementation of NASCAR’s more lenient on-track policing policy began last season we’ve been waiting for this moment. Waiting for NASCAR to give some definition to, “we’ll know it when we see it.”
While I don’t think we got a whole lot of clarity with the penalty this weekend, I can’t say I’m surprised that was the moment. Count me among the legions who didn’t expect NASCAR to act as strongly as they did, but again I wasn’t surprised.
Kyle Busch was out of his mind Friday night – out of his mind like seldom few I’ve ever seen on a race track. He not only wrecked Ron Hornaday’s repairable truck, he wrecked his own even more repairable truck all because he was upset Hornaday got loose and forced him up the track. The championship contender was apparently supposed to back down for Busch. It was mind-boggling.
And then NASCAR’s decision was not. Busch has repeatedly been involved in incidents this year. Most notably with Kevin Harvick and subsequently with Richard Childress. He, if you’ll remember, also had that 126 mph speeding ticket during the summer.
If this had been the first incident you may not have seen NASCAR act with as much gusto. But it wasn’t. This behavior has become all too frequent for Busch.
I’m hopeful this will be a moment of clarity for the driver. An opportunity for him to realize that maturity and temperance are important steps in becoming the great racecar driver he’s capable of becoming.
But I don’t blame NASCAR. In fact, I applaud them. This was a long time coming. It was unfortunate for Busch’s sponsors and increasingly I feel bad that Joe Gibbs and Joe Gibbs Racing are forced to make excuses for behavior I know they don’t find acceptable.
Kyle Busch got exactly what Kyle Busch deserved – and we’ll see if more is coming on Tuesday.