Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Parks Kyle Busch for CWTS Incident; McDowell in No. 18 Sunday

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NASCAR announced on Saturday that Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, was parked for both of those series’ races following an incident in the WinStar World Casino 350 Truck Series race on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch, who was driving his own Kyle Busch Motorsports truck in the race, intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday under caution, prompting NASCAR to park him immediately for the remainder of the event.

The incident was triggered while Hornaday and Busch were racing for position on lap 14 and came up on a lapped truck. As the two went to the outside of the slower truck, Hornaday appeared to get loose and slid up the track, causing the No. 18 to also get loose and slap the wall. The caution flew, but the trucks had not yet slowed down when Busch drove up behind Hornaday and hit him several times before turning both trucks into the wall.

NASCAR President Mike Helton said that Busch crossed a line, even in the era of “boys have at it,” and that the sanctioning body reacted with a penalty that was in line with the severity of the event. Helton told the media that NASCAR has said that they would know when they saw someone go to far under their tolerance, and “We saw it last night.” Helton later went on to add, “The circumstances that we saw last night on the racetrack, we didn’t take lightly what we saw or the responsibility for us to react to it.

“We take those responsibilities very seriously… on occasion you have an incident to take the responsibility, to take the additional step like we’re talking about this morning, and it’s not an easy step to take. It’s not something we enjoy doing. It’s not an action that we would want to do. But we take our responsibility to maintain control of the garage areas very seriously which led us to this action.”

Joe Gibbs also spoke to the media on Saturday and made a statement on the incident. “We met this morning with NASCAR. They explained their situation, their decision. After that, sometimes in life you have to deal with some real tough things. This is a tough situation. Basically what we’re trying to do is go through it the right way. Everybody here with our race team is trying to meet with everybody that was affected by this. Obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do there, a lot of people to see. But we’re going to be trying to go through this, try and handle everything in the right way.”

Gibbs did not rule out the possibility of internal penalties for Busch, and, when asked if he agreed with NASCAR’s decision, he added, “I always trust NASCAR. I think they do a great job. They manage the series… I have great faith in the decisions they make.”

Denny Hamlin drove Busch’s Nationwide car to a second-place finish on Saturday. Michael McDowell will drive the No. 18 Cup car in the AAA Texas 500. McDowell’s regular Cup ride in the No. 66 for HP Racing will be driven by Josh Wise.

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