Kyle Busch: Could He Be Out at Joe Gibbs Racing?

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent INovember 6, 2011

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Kyle Busch (L), driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, talks with team owner Joe Gibbs during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 23, 2011 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

The arrogance and over-inflated ego of Kyle Busch caused him to sit out two races at Texas Motor Speedway, but more punishment may indeed be in store for him by Joe Gibbs.

Busch was seventh in the point standings for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Michael McDowell was the man behind the wheel in the No. 18 M&M's Toyota in the AAA Texas 500.

Joe Gibbs knew immediately after watching the incident between Busch and Ron Hornaday during the NASCAR Camping World Truck race that he had to rush to Texas for damage control.

What happened between the No. 33 truck and Busch in the No. 18 truck was obviously going to explode into something much bigger than the driver for Joe Gibbs Racing being ordered to park the truck.

It was immediately announced that Busch and his crew chief were to report to the NASCAR trailer after the race.

The next meeting took place in the NASCAR trailer Saturday morning with Gibbs, J.D. Gibbs, Busch and others.

It was after that brief get together that the word came from NASCAR that Busch would not race in the Nationwide or Cup race under NASCAR rule 9-12.

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 05:  Team owner Joe Gibbs speaks to members of the media after Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, was parked for the weekend following an incident with Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Camping World Truck Series race Friday at Te
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Busch issued an apology, which may be too little, too late. Sure, he is sorry about what he did, but only because his ego was bruised from the hard NASCAR slap.

The punishment is hardly over for the driver of the No. 18 Toyota. NASCAR will once again meet early next week to determine what, if any, further action may be assessed against Busch.

This is a driver who has continued to push his luck with assorted antics that test the patience and policies of NASCAR, including giving the finger to an official at Texas Motor Speedway.

Now the pressure is on the boss at Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs took responsibility for Busch and his actions, though he hardly had control over the driver and his egregious behavior.

The Mars company, makers of M&M's candy, has very high expectations for the driver behind the wheel of the car they sponsor, with huge sums of money going to Joe Gibbs Racing.

Certainly, they get their money's worth when it comes to the talent Busch has behind the wheel of his Cup car. If only his behavior and attitude equated to his ability. The fact is, they do not.

Joe Gibbs Racing, his team and his fans were all disrespected by the actions of Busch, even though he was driving a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports when the incident took place.

His continued poor judgment on the race tracks and off the race track reflect not only on his team owner but the sponsor as well.

Prior to the Cup race at Texas, M&M's issued a statement on Facebook that read as follows:

"The recent actions by Kyle Busch are not consistent with the values of M&M's and we're very disappointed. Like you, we hold those who represent our sport to a higher standard and we have expressed our concerns to Joe Gibbs Racing."

It is sad that a young man with such natural talent as a race car driver should have to sink to this current level. His way back to grace is going to be a tough road.

NASCAR may or may not allow Busch to race the last two races of the season, but the pressure from M&M's on Gibbs may force the release of the driver from JGR.

Gibbs is in a corner, and if he keeps Busch, Mars will likely pull their sponsorship. Should Busch be released, it will be from the second major NASCAR team. Hendrick Motorsports was the first to release him.

NASCAR wants to see the drivers show personality, as do fans. The JGR driver is just so driven to win that he crosses the line of reasonable behavior.

Busch has so much potential, but his maturity level and lack of respect have sadly cost him dearly in many ways.

This saga has yet to play out, and it will play out relatively quickly. Joe Gibbs Racing may not be able to take one for the driver of the No. 18.