Ron Hornaday did not lose the NASCAR Truck Series championship as a result of Kyle Busch. Sure it will be a contributing factor but so will the huge hole the four-time champion dug himself into as the season started.
Hornaday had climbed back into the reach of his fifth championship as a result of winning three of the four races leading up to Texas and finishing second in the other. Once counted out he had reemerged and then as a result of Kyle Busch’s actions it was gone.
The two trucks of Hornday and Busch bumped and banged with Hornaday sending Busch to the wall. Under caution Busch retalied by riding Hornaday’s bumper and made an attempt to turn his competitor. He was unsuccessful the first time but hooked the #33 truck of Hornaday on his second attempt ending the 53 year old’s night and earning himself a timeout for the remainder of the race.
Following the accident Hornaday went from title hopeful to a guy with one race left before he is out of a job. Hornaday’s current team Kevin Harvick Inc is shutting down and the winner of 51 Truck races is not employed for 2012.
Still Kyle Busch lost more.
NASCAR parked Busch for the rest of Friday nights Truck race. After a meeting between Busch and NASCAR word quickly spread across the garage and internet that the driver of the #18 had been “parked for the balance of the weekend.”
Busch was replaced in the Nationwide Series race by Denny Hamlin. His cup ride will be driven by veteran Michael McDowell.
While Busch’s chances at a Sprint Cup title were gone entering the weekend he lost more.
Busch’s image had always been as one of NASCAR’s bad boys. Now he’ll be remembered as a driver who got kicked off the track for a weekend. While NASCAR is not terming the move as a suspension, what else do you call the act of keeping someone from performing their job?
The suspension, as well as some questionable activities from Busch and Kevin Harvick earlier this year, has severely damaged Kyle Busch’s future credibility. How do you give the benefit of the doubt to someone who NASCAR deemed to be so irresponsible that they suspended him? Someone who was so beyond the standards of Boys have at it?
Denny Hamlin, Busch’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, believes his actions during Friday’s race was nothing more then what happened during the Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin also said in an interview Saturday that following the decision of NASCAR that he was unsure of where the line in the sand was in regards to the Boys have at it motto.
But still NASCAR’s decision is to sit Busch out. Worse is the position it puts potential sponsors in. Busch is a talented driver with a wild streak and now NASCAR has highlighted, circled, put up a neon arrow and called everyone to look at it. The old adage of any press is good press does not apply here.
M&M’s, the Mars company does not pride itself on it’s candy putting you into the wall. They don’t pride themselves on their dog food tossing your dog around the backyard. Now you have a case where two bright colored candies are linked with the face of NASCARs top villain. They have a every day dog associated with a guy who can’t race everyday because he’s been sent home for being too mean.
The Dollar General has to wonder if a NASCAR fan may opt to walk across the street to browse the Family Dollar instead. Toyota is again aligned with the stuck gas pedal into the wall scenario.
Yep Kyle Busch lost big here.
Ron Horaday may have been denied a truck series title but lets face it, if he could be a Cup driver of Busch’s caliber he’d do it in an instance. Jack Sprague left a team who won multiple championships for a shot to run in a car that was little more then a field filler.
The dollars are bigger at the top level of NASCAR. It works that way in every sport. And from now on the credibility and marketability of Kyle Busch will be lowered. People talk about forgiveness but if that was really true they wouldn’t be saying anything.