With news of Kyle Busch being parked by NASCAR Saturday morning for the remainder of the weekend, the garage area has been buzzing. Opinions flying throughout about what’s right and wrong in terms of treating another competitor after one feels they have been done wrong.
[media-credit name=”theautochannel.com” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Kenny Wallace was supposed to talk to the media Saturday before the Nationwide Series race about his 520th start. The record makes him the all-time leader in starts in the series and while he did talk about his piece of history and the memorable moments in his career, he also didn’t shy away from offering his thoughts on Busch.
For Wallace, he knows all about NASCAR parking drivers. In 1997 at Phoenix he disobeyed a black flag and was called him to the NASCAR hauler after the race. Wallace refused and NASCAR fine him $10,000 which he had to write a check for out of his own account. Something he said made his hands shake. They also threatened to sit him for the next event a week later.
“Mike Helton said something to me I’ll never forget — and this goes true for Kyle Busch — but he said these words: ‘I do not want to be the one to ruin your career,’” said Wallace. “So when the NASCAR president tells you ‘I don’t want to be the one to ruin your career’, they’re serious about that.”
In 2002 Wallace was the substitute driver for Kevin Harvick after NASCAR parked him for his actions in a Camping World Truck Series race. Then in 2005 when Roush suspended then driver Kurt Busch, Wallace was again the man that was called upon to drive the car.
He joked that he has the most experience at parking drivers. What wasn’t a joke to Wallace were Busch’s actions. There are rules in NASCAR just like any sport he said, that everyone needs to abide by and if not, they suffer the consequences. It’s not a free enterprise.
Busch and Hornaday got together on lap 15 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race on Friday night. After the caution flag had been shown Busch sped up to catch Hornaday and pushed him around turns three and four before he was able to turn him into the wall. He was parked for the remainder of the event and NASCAR informed Busch of the rest of his penalty on Saturday morning.
President Mike Helton said that Busch crossed a line, even in the days of “boys, have at it.” Drivers can go about expressing themselves and reacting how they please but it will be to NASCAR’s discretion. There is a line that Helton said they’ve always believed that they’ll know when they see. Unfortunately for Busch, he showed it to them on Friday night.
While he was driving his own truck on Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing is now filling in the gap that Busch leaves for Saturday and Sunday. Denny Hamlin and Michael McDowell will be the substitutes; even though Wallace joked he was hoping they would put him in the 18 car.
Instead, he hopes that Busch learns from his actions. Just as he did in ’97 when NASCAR laid down the law, forcing him to grow up in a hurry. Drivers need the sport more than the sport needs them, contrary to popular belief.
“I compare this situation to a dog collar,” said Wallace. “They zap you once, they zap you twice. And they zapped the hell out of Kyle Busch. And I think he gets it now, after 90 wins [across all three series]. So, I went through all of this, I’m the king of this situation.”
More importantly says Wallace is that NASCAR doesn’t make idle threats, no matter if it’s Kyle Busch or John Doe. They will put a driver in their place, no matter the cost anyone party involved.
“They will ruin Kyle’s career if he doesn’t straighten up,” Wallace said. “They don’t care if M&M’s is his sponsor. They don’t care if he’s in the Chase. They don’t care that all his employees have just lost their bonus money. They don’t care if he took Ron Hornaday out of the championship chase. There are major, major implications for this situation and I understand them all.”