After intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday during a Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway last Friday, Kyle Busch has solidified himself as Nascar’s most hated driver. Please refer to yesterday’s Monday Grind blog post for video of the wreck. Even before this incident, “Shrub” was already one of the most hated drivers, but why? Is it the sunglasses? Is it because he brings shame to M&M’s candy? Perhaps, but these three reasons are much more likely:
1. He drives a Toyota.
2. Fans think he is arrogant and cocky.
3. His aggression and willingness to wreck fellow drivers.
Except for the first reason, both number 2 and 3 were traits reflected by the great Dale Earnhardt Sr. who was notorious for aggressive driving and performing the “bump-and-run” on other drivers. This has sparked comparisons, but what separates the two, however, is temperament and self-control. Earnhardt never used his car as a weapon, especially during a caution lap like Bush did last week. Moreover, Busch has been caught up in a number of squabbles since joining Nascar at the age of 16 in 2001. There was the fight with Richard Childress that led to exchanging blows. Then there was the fight with Kevin Harvick that nearly led to exchanging blows at Darlington. There was also the time he called Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans “crazy.” And then there was last weekend.
Nascar responded by issuing a Busch a $50,000 fine and suspending him from racing for the entire weekend. He will be placed on probation for the remainder of the year with a potential indefinite suspension from Nascar if he makes another overtly-dangerous or aggressive maneuver. Questions have been raised if this punishment is harsh enough considering Hornaday could have injured or even killed. The flip side to all of this is if Nascar would have taken the same measures against a more popular driver. Furthermore, should Busch have been suspended from racing in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series even though the incident occurred in the Truck Series? The topic has been contested heavily on the Mojo Motors Facebook page and over 400 people have weighed in on the matter.
Many of our fans said he should be suspended for the rest of the season, M&M’s should pull their sponsorship or Joe Gibbs Racing should cut him. A different sect of fans criticized Nascar for not letting drivers race anymore and that the sport needs more “bad boys.” Others commented Busch should be fined significantly more than $50,000 to the tune of $1,00,000. A million dollar fine may be a little ridiculous, but ultimately, some interesting insights have come out of the comments.
Here’s what Nascar can takeaway from all of this:
- Be more consistent when issuing punishments and fines.
- Potentially limit drivers to run in only one sanction (Nationwide, Sprint Cup, etc.)
- Enforce a mandatory anger management course for suspect drivers
- Develop new discipline rules for racing teams
Did we get it right? Continue the discussion with us on our Facebook page or leave a comment below.