If we needed more proof of the travesty NASCAR racing has become, we got it last Friday when Kyle Busch (above, center) drove a competitor into the wall—while the caution light was on.
The scene was one of NASCAR’s ridiculous truck races at the Texas Motor Speedway. Here’s the nutshell of the story, as Autoweek had it:
Busch was suspended for intentionally crashing four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution early in Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series race. They banged together moments earlier, when Hornaday moved up the track just slightly to clear a lapped car, forcing Busch lightly into the outside wall. When the caution waved and the pace slowed, Busch repeatedly banged into the back of Hornaday’s truck until they both crashed heavily.
See video after the break.
Busch was suspended for the remainder of the race and two more on Sunday. He should have been booted for the season, because the guy has a long history of bad behavior on and off the track.
After the race, Kyle was still steaming about Hornaday’s driving and made some intemperate remarks, with no apology. The next morning, he issued a pedestrian, properly “official” apology. Team owner Joe Gibbs had to mop up, as usual, with the news media.
NASCAR has encouraged this sort of thing with its deliberately lax, “let the boys have at it” rules. They have been very lucky that we haven’t seen more damage and death. Dan Wheldon’s needless death and the stupidity of ever-faster oval track racing should force the Indy Car Racing League to do some powerful rethinking. But I don’t think NASCAR has the brains or the motivation to change its ways.
The fever to put up with, if not glorify, reckless driving in the pursuit of more fans is finally catching up to itself. As for Kyle Busch, he continues to self-destruct with temper tantrums, public antics and now this.
He is finally running up against not only himself but the expectations of a sport that encourages dangerous driving, crashes and the popularity of “villain” drivers.
If you are a NASCAR fan, please tell us what makes you come to the track (or watch the races on TV).