- Kyle Busch was arrested on January 27
To be clear, there is nothing positive about getting arrested. None whatsoever. But that’s what two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch was faced with after a handgun violation led to an incident with authorities down in Mexico.
According to the statement released by Busch on Monday (Feb. 6), he said that he “had accepted the penalties” imposed by the country and considers the case closed.
Did Busch do something wrong, even if it was inadvertent? Yes, there is no question about that. But it’s not the first time a pro athlete has had a minor scrape. That includes excessive speeding violations, of which Busch himself has been dinged for a time or two, by the way.
Could it have been a PR nightmare for Busch to literally spend considerable time in jail, especially when he is starting a new chapter of his career? Certainly. But it seems somewhere from unlikely to impossible this violation will actually result in an extradition to Mexico or any time behind bars.
Does running afoul of the law with a firearm endear Busch to a segment of race fans who happen to have an affinity for being able to carry guns anywhere they please? Definitely so. He may actually gain some support out of this mess.
There’s irony, of course, that Busch’s misadventure involves the carrying of a firearm when car owner Richard Childress has been a huge public supporter of the NRA.
Busch’s detainment was not a good thing, but in the end, it should be little more than a footnote once we get past the Daytona 500.
2. Did the Clash race grow the sport?
The reason for the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum again running at the L.A. Coliseum was simple. It’s a desire to grow the sport. You had live music, a spectacle, celebrity sightings and Heisman trophy hopefuls at an iconic venue. Oh, and there was an actual race going on, too.
The goal, of course, is for people who are not hardcore race fans to take an interest and follow the sport more intensely. That’s fine and good to have that as a goal. But when the race is multiple hours of not being able to pass – that is, unless you want to count ramming someone in the center of a bumper – these fans will think that’s what constitutes racing.
What happened at the Coliseum is not racing. It’s a circus act. Imagine the shock these new fans to the sport will have when tuning in to watch races at Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway only to not see the multi-hour demolition derby.
Was it entertaining to watch? Not unless you adore demolition derbies.
NASCAR should be applauded for trying new ways to reach fans, but that effort should not come at the expense of the final two letters of the sport’s name – “Auto Racing.”
3. How insane is it to even consider L.A. as a points race?
It did not take long for drivers to chuckle with amusement Sunday night (Feb. 5) about the prospect of the Clash being a potential points event.
It’s silly enough to even think of such a thing in a race with no live pit stops. When you factor in that drivers put on a master class of running into one another all night long, it makes the concept even more outrageous. If Sunday night had been a Bandolero race somewhere like Charlotte Motor Speedway or Atlanta Motor Speedway, it would have probably resulted in the race being red-flagged so the race director could read the drivers the riot act over the radio.
If NASCAR wants to continue racing at the L.A. Coliseum in a made-for-TV event that is more about the show than a race, that’s their business. But if you’re going to turn this insanity into a points event, then it’s time to ask if this sport is even about racing anymore.
4. Was moving the Clash away from Daytona still the right call?
At the risk of dating myself, I remember the short-sprint format of the Busch Clash in the early afternoon. Those days are obviously gone, and it did not take much effort during Sunday’s events, before and during it, to find many pining for a return to Daytona.
There may be some debate if the L.A. Coliseum is suitable for this event in the future. But moving the Clash away from Daytona was a move long overdue.
Sure, at its beginning, the idea of a run only for the previous season’s pole winners was an exciting new concept. But like many things, enthusiasm waned over time. Attendance dropped off, for one. And in all honesty, 90 percent of the race with cars running in single file became a common sight, making it a glorified test session. If I’m a race fan, why should I watch something like 75 laps on the same track I will see the same style of racing on a week later?
Having the Busch Clash at Daytona had grown stale, and it showed in the stands, too. There should be a debate on if L.A. is the best place for this event going forward, but the high banks of Daytona should not be listed as a possible alternative.
5. Was There Too Much Dead Time On Sunday Afternoon?
For an event with a buildup of anticipation, the Clash also provided lots of dead time to wait for it on Sunday afternoon.
Cars were not on track until 5 p.m. ET. While I understand that timing due to the west coast timezone, it made for poor TV scheduling.
If NASCAR wants to keep the L.A. Coliseum exclusive to the Cup cars, that’s perfectly OK. But a golden opportunity was missed to showcase the NASCAR Xfinity or Craftsman Truck series teams earlier in the day.
Due to budget costs, you don’t want to ask those teams to pull across the country for an exhibition race, but there’s no reason you can’t think outside the box for these divisions as well and race somewhere down south like Five Flags Speedway or New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
Sunday put NASCAR’s top division firmly in the spotlight. But if NASCAR wants to represent more than just the Cup Series, this weekend should go beyond that.
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The writer may well be unfamiliar with federal and state firearm laws in the United States. I’m sure they aren’t familiar with Mexico’s laws regarding firearms illegally brought into their country by a foreign citizen.
A simple handgun violation? Seems pretty serious to me.
Taking a partisan dig at the NRA, Richard Childress, and NASCAR fans is just typical FS tripe.
“How insane is it to even consider L.A. as a points race?”
That question means It is now a guaranteed certainty that the Brain Trust in Daytona will determine that this is what the “fans” want and make the change for the betterment of the sport.
Unbelievable!!! Mexico is worried because someone brought a gun into the country. The place is full of cartels and other drug dealers, murders are common, rape is common and millions of illegals coming across their border. What a joke that they are more worried about someone having a 38 cal. weapon on them.
Sadly, I agree that the Clash- in whatever form it is- does not need to return to Daytona. I like the idea of a short track, but do wish it were more limited like it used to be. I was a really big fan of it being for pole sitters only, even if there were only 10-15 cars in the race. Gave more of an incentive for “winning” qualifying.
NA$CAR believes in quantity over quality and lengthening events to allow for more commercials.
Now, like everywhere else, you can’t let someone excel above the others. Everyone has to be included and everyone gets a participation trophy. Remember, the goal is to prop up everyone’s self esteem so that they can develop an inflated ego.
Brian, you are spot on about the Coliseum race.
Kurt Busch gets suspended because of allegations from a lying revengeful girl friend. Kyle gets arrested for a major crime and found guilty and no suspension. Neither one deserves suspension, just saying NASCAR is inconsistent.
The original Clash was much better because of the limited entrants who deserved to be there. The main incentive was the big dollar first place winnings. I’m okay with Daytona having the race during Speed Weeks. It made sense on every level. Maybe having lots of lap money being paid out will eliminate the single file racing. 50 green flag laps would make a pit stop necessary. Also having the other two series run the same kind of race the same day would help attendance. I know I would buy a ticket.