Joe Gibbs Racing has announced that Kyle Busch won't be fired for his road rage incident last week, when he purposely put driver Roy Hornaday, Jr. into the wall. However, he will be facing punishments from the team that will go beyond what NASCAR has doled out.
NASCAR parked Busch for the weekend and fined him $50,000, but left any remaining punishment up to his team. Z-Line Designs, which sponsors Busch's Nationwide car, requested that the driver be replaced with Denny Hamlin for this weekend's race. Meanwhile, M&Ms, which sponsors the Sprint Cup car, has opted to remove its branding from the vehicle for the final two races in the series, but didn't require Busch to sit out. Instead, Interstate Batteries will be the primary sponsor for Busch's vehicle.
Team owner Joe Gibbs told USA Today that he ultimately opted not to fire Busch, and instead would work on helping him move past these issues.
"In a situation like this you can make one or two decisions," Gibbs told the news source. "One would have been devastating and really discouraging for everyone around him and for the sport. I want to support Kyle and feel as if this could have a positive impact on Kyle. I like him. We've gone through a lot together. We're looking forward to a long relationship."
That said, Gibbs said that penalties against Busch would be "substantial" from a team standpoint, and would likely include a combination of professional and financial sanctions. Since the incident, Busch has been apologetic in comments to the media.
"This has been a trying week," Busch said. "Utmost of all, I'm apologetic for everyone having to go through this situation. There's no one to blame but myself. Joe has been a huge supporter of me and can't say enough about him... There's certainly remorse form my side to be apologetic to M&Ms brand and everyone who put their heart and soul into those brands, and we want to continue that down the road. This is an opportunity to become a better person to grow and learn from this. I'm looking forward to those days."
While M&Ms is done for the season as the sponsor of Busch's vehicle, the company issued a statement that said it would return in 2012, expecting that no further incidents would take place.