Kyle Busch might have just forced NASCAR’s hand

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Following Friday’s incident, Kyle Busch may have forced NASCAR to take a stand on something from which they had previously shied away.

After his #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota suffered a flat tire in the third and final stage of Friday night’s NASCAR Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch spun out on his way back to the pits.

When asked by Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass to describe what led to the spin, Busch answered with one word, three times:

“Nope. Nope. Nope.”

The reason why Busch declined to answer was obvious — perhaps even more obvious than the fact that he intentionally spun out to begin with.

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It had nothing to do with the fact that his rally from a lap off the lead lap came up just shy of a win with a second place finish. No; in fact, Busch was thrilled that John Hunter Nemechek became Kyle Busch Motorsports’ first full-time driver to win a regular season race in nearly three years.

It had everything to do with the fact that back in 2019, Bubba Wallace intentionally spun out to bring out a caution flag in the final stage of a round of 8 playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway, and he did it during a pit sequence, which ended up dashing the chances of several drivers, most notably playoff driver Kyle Larson, to secure good results.

Wallace, who wasn’t even close to being in the playoff mix or the mix for a good result in the race at the time, wasn’t initially punished, even though it was obvious what he had done.

His spin generated all kinds of criticism and calls for NASCAR to do something about drivers spinning out just to prevent themselves from losing more ground, especially since it can and does have negative effects on the races and strategies of other competitors.

A few days later, Wallace straight-up admitted what he had done, and he basically told NASCAR to do something about it.

So they did, in the form of a $50,000 fine and a 50-point penalty. And they explicitly stated that they did it only because he admitted it — again, even though it was obvious what he had done from the start.

A similar thing happened in 2004, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted that he spun out on purpose at Bristol Motor Speedway, leading to a $10,000 fine and a 25-point penalty.

And that’s exactly why Busch said nothing.

He didn’t lie, but his bank account will be able to thank him later for not explaining the truth. NASCAR dug their own hole on that one.

Trending. NASCAR dug their own hole with Kyle Busch’s response. light

But as most fans well know, consistency isn’t always NASCAR’s strong suit.

Sure enough, Busch’s response has generated more talk about penalties for intentionally spinning out to bring out caution flags — irrespective of an admission of guilt.

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, discussed the matter on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” on Tuesday.

Read a bit of what he had to say, and take a listen below.

"“Those are tough calls. That obviously came up again this weekend. It’s hard for us to know what is going on inside the car. We have our (Tuesday) competition meeting, and I’m sure there will be discussions on the particular one that prompted that question. We’ll kind of review it.“What we can’t let, and what we will probably be more inclined to do moving forward, is having a flat tire and trying to get back to pit road is not an excuse to spin out. If we have to crack down a little bit harder on those things happening so that doesn’t become a trend, we will certainly react to that.”"

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So it will be interesting to see if and how NASCAR decides to go about managing this form of judgment call in the future.