I’m watching an angry Kyle Busch walk down pit road to find Joey Logano. Kyle is fuming that he was wrecked going into the last turn on the last lap by Joey. Once found, without hesitation, Kyle throws a punch at Joey and Joey’s crew pounces on Kyle. This picture isn’t new but in the case of Kyle Busch, it’s odd. He was basically alone except for one crew member and a fleeing PR representative. (Note: A second crew member jumped in to help pull crew members off the pile once Kyle was on the ground)
I remember Jeff Gordon going after Brad Keselowski at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014. What was the difference in the two situations? Well, simple…Jeff’s crew was in tow. They rushed to meet him at his car on pit road and they went into the fight with him. Once the altercation started both crews, Brad’s and Jeff’s, were in the fight. It was wild – both drivers left with scars, but it was a team effort…to protect and serve.
I’m at a loss on why the No. 18 M&M’s team is never around for Kyle Busch. Several seasons ago Kevin Harvick said, “The 18-team not backing him up, I mean when you don’t have a backbone how can you back somebody up?” That was in 2011 – jump to the 2017 and still no crew…no help.
Imagine seeing a group of M&M crew members or even others from Joe Gibbs Racing surrounding Kyle and walking off the battlefield with him. Instead the leader of the team is pulled from the bottom of a pile of Logano’s crew members. He’s then marched off by NASCAR officials bloodied and alone. The visual is unbelievable and frankly embarrassing.
I have questions. Is Kyle Busch that bad of a person that he can’t get his own crew members to follow him into battle? Does this team find Kyle so unimportant – a team who depends on his talent for their income, that they would risk another team injuring him? Where are Kyle’s friends?
The impression I have of the 18-team is they are in it for themselves…each individual person, except for the one crew member that joined Kyle (give him a raise!). I feel they see Kyle as someone not worthy of defending. And honestly, I’m not to blame for the impression – the team is to blame for giving fans that impression. It’s gone on for way too long and if you’re a Kyle Busch fan you should be upset with this group.
I’m not sure if Kyle can say it or will say, but I will – shame on you 18-team, you embarrassed yourselves! You allow your driver to go at it alone. Imagine a baseball pitcher being rushed by a batter and the other team, while the pitcher’s team just stands around, watching or not paying attention. It wouldn’t happen – but this is what Kyle’s team did to him. If you don’t like the guy, move on to another team. But at a minimum bite your tongue and hold your nose if that’s what it takes but show up to the dance – even if it’s only to protect your driver from himself.
What happened to FOX Sports?
After Kyle was wrecked and he parked it on pit road – every single…let me say this again, every single viewer knew Kyle was going to visit Joey after the race. You could see it on his face. But FOX Sports decided not to keep one single camera on Kyle to catch his reaction. Instead Jeff Gluck, former USA Today NASCAR reporter and newly independent reporter, caught the story on video. He got the walk, first punch, scuffle and removal of Kyle…all on video. FOX Sports showed up late and missed 95% of what happened. What was the producer doing and where did the pit reporters go? This was so obvious and at a time when NASCAR needs a spark, their broadcaster missed the opportunity to give the gift of rivalry. Sad – it’s very sad.
Congratulations Jeff Gluck, I believe with one video you’ve become more famous than you were before you became famous.
Brian France’s response is bad for business!
Brian France took to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday and discussed the incident between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. He said, “There will be no retaliation. That will not be happening. That’s not going to happen anyway. The drivers understand what we did a couple of years at Martinsville (when NASCAR suspended Matt Kenseth for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano), that is unacceptable. So what happens on the track, good or for bad for one driver or another, that’s where it stays and we move on to the next event.”
What? Why on earth would you publically say this? NASCAR is meeting with both drivers at Phoenix this weekend and I’m sure that message could’ve been delivered behind the scenes without squashing any fan anticipation heading to Phoenix. Heck, I’m sure it would’ve given NASCAR a slight, even a little, bump in ratings – but leave it to the head of the sport to do what most track promoters and television executives wouldn’t do…kill the storyline.
What happened to letting the drivers police themselves? Under France’s policy – a driver can purposely take someone out and the retaliating driver will get suspended. Talk about building a wall…France has done it around any driver wanting to wreck someone first.
The lack of rivalries is hurting the sport and France continues to do what’s not best for the sport.
This has been the weekly column from the desk of the VP of Common Sense, answering NASCAR’s challenges with simple common sense views.
Until next week, VP SOZ out!
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