It certainly sucks to be Kyle Busch.
Today, NASCAR fined Busch fifty thousand dollars and placed him on probation. Normally, I’d say that’s still too lenient based on the harm he caused Ron Hornaday and KHI. However, in that directive you’ll find this: “(I)f during the remaining NASCAR events in 2011 there is another action by the competitor that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, the competitor will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.”
Now that has my attention. Here’s why:
First, Kyle’s just had his claws clipped and his fangs shaved down to nothing. At Phoenix and Homestead, he knows for certain he’ll be under constant surveillance. He will have to drive as though he’s in a bubble, but that won’t be possible. Let’s just say that if I were racing Kyle for position this week or in the finale and I thought I could root him up out of the way, do you honestly think—well, wouldn’t you? I can think of at least 42 other drivers who manifestly would. They’re predators, and they know Kyle can’t afford to fight back too hard or that sanction will come down.
It wouldn’t have been much of a sanction without the passage quoted above. NASCAR has now said “This is the last time.” Considering Busch’s emotional track record, it’s even money as to whether he winds up getting into even more trouble but there’s surely a target on him now, and that only increases the possibilities that something else will happen. I don’t wish it on him, but it looks like he’s trending that way, toward career collapse, and personally I don’t want to see that happen. Neither should you. When things are right, he’s a world-beater. Part of Kyle Busch’s problem is, he knows that. He’s arrogant, cocky, and that attitude just begs to be broken down.
That could happen. So let’s say something else happens, on-track or off, and NASCAR’s forced to decree the motorsports version of a death penalty on Busch. If memory serves, Curtis Turner was the last driver banned from NASCAR’s premier series; that was in the nineteen-sixties. That ban cost Turner dearly, both in straight financial as well as career/statistical terms. Kyle Busch’s numbers to this stage are the stuff of history; it would be sad if his own immaturity brought an end to that stunning potential.
After this, NASCAR’s done with Kyle Busch, looks like. It’d be back to barnstorming short tracks for less appearance money than he was making heretofore.
What a waste. Really.