Kyle Busch Fined $25,000 and Placed on Probation: Did the Whine Fit the Crime?

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst INovember 9, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 07:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, gets held by a NASCAR official on pit road after an incident in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 7, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Without a doubt Kyle Busch, who drives the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, is one the most talented drivers on the track today.

Busch is having another spectacular season with seven wins, 11 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in only 14 starts in the Camping World Truck series alone.

Then you add the record-breaking season he’s had in the Nationwide Series with 12 wins, 21 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes while missing six starts, along with three wins, 10 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in the Sprint Cup Series for a total of 22 wins in NASCAR’s top three touring series.

Busch who is known for his outlandish tirades when things don’t go his way, which include storming off the track and refusing to be interviewed has outdone himself this past weekend in Texas.

Busch became frustrated from a new rule change, which took effect at the beginning of the season, which states that speeding on pit road to keep from going down a lap was changed to a one-lap penalty to keep drivers from speeding intentionally.  

Initially the rule was when a driver was caught speeding on pit road; he would go to the end of the line.

Busch was caught during the ESPN telecast giving a NASCAR official the one-finger salute, while serving his penalty sitting on pit road.

“I don’t know if the camera inside the car [impacted the penalty] or not, but it’s just unfortunate,” said Busch after the race.

Busch also added, “It’s something that I lost my cool in what I was doing and I had no worries about a camera inside the car at that point.”

Busch was then told by NASCAR that he was being penalized two laps for the obscene gesture. He then told his team over the radio, “That’s freedom of speech; they’re going against the constitutional rights for everybody.”

Busch’s crew chief Dave Rogers tried to calm his already frustrated driver, when he told him, “Kyle, stop, please, we all work too hard for this."

"You’re costing us. Bring it to pit road, park it for two laps…You’ve got to bring it in right now or we can roll it on the lift gate.”

Even though JGR President J.D. Gibbs said, “I’d be surprised if there are any more penalties coming,” NASCAR penalized Busch $25,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31.

The penalties stemmed from his actions during last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing—inappropriate gesture and verbal abuse to NASCAR Officials) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book.

Whether his fans feel either of the penalties was warranted, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said, “What he did on pit road was unacceptable. You can’t do that to an official. It’s inappropriate at any level of sport...Respect and the actions you take towards one of our officials, that’s serious. We take that very seriously.”

Busch can only blame himself, as he is the only one who has to learn from his mistakes. There is still the one lingering question: How far will his talent carry him beyond his not-so-spectacular attitude?