Kyle Busch has been suspended from the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events at Texas Motor Speedway following an on-track incident in the early laps of Friday's Camping World Truck Series race. NASCAR president Mike Helton (ABOVE) announced the action Saturday morning, prior to the day's opening session of Sprint Cup practice.
Busch was battling for second place against Truck Series title contender Ron Hornaday when the pair made contact at Turn 2 while overtaking a backmarker on the outside. Both trucks skidded up the banking, eventually brushing the wall, causing officials to wave the caution.
As they came out of Turn 2, Busch went in pursuit of Hornaday, hit his truck's rear bumper and turned him against the outside barrier, with Busch also hitting the wall. The incident ruled Hornaday out of the series' title battle, while officials parked Busch in the garage immediately.
Following a meeting in the NASCAR hauler on Saturday morning, it was announced that Busch has been suspended for the remaining events at Texas due to his actions. The penalty means he will not be able to score Cup points this weekend, meaning he could end up virtually eliminated from Chase contention entering the last two races of the season. Helton added that further penalties could be forthcoming.
"I would certainly tell you that any violation that we have to react to, we consider the ripple effect of our reaction," said Helton. "Every incident that we have to react to, whether it's in an inspection, something that's happened on the racetrack or what have you, that's not our mission but it's our responsibility as a regulatory group that manages the sport and we certainly take that very seriously.
"The circumstances that we saw last night on the racetrack, we didn't take lightly what we saw, we didn't take lightly the necessity or responsibility for us to react to it. More often than not our responsibility is to officiate the sport, inspect the hardware that's involved in the sport in a manner that everybody feels like we have an equal and level playing field. That's the sport's regulatory's responsibility.
"On occasion, you have an incident that requires you to take the additional step like we're talking about this morning and it's not an easy step to make. It's not something we enjoy doing, it's not an action that we would want to do but we do take our responsibility to maintain control of the garage area and the unfolding of the events very seriously, which lead us to this action."
Busch had qualified on the front row for the Nationwide Series event that takes place on Saturday afternoon, while he was 17th on the grid for Sunday's Cup race.
Michael McDowell, who usually drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, will race the No. 18 Cup car on Sunday while Denny Hamlin is set to fill in for Busch in the Nationwide Series event.