NASCAR's Kyle Busch: 'No one to blame but myself'
A contrite Kyle Busch, heavily penalized for a retaliatory move on the track a week ago, said Friday that Joe Gibbs did not consider firing him from Gibbs' NASCAR team but that his behavior was "uncalled for" and "disrespectful."
In his first news conference since the incident, Busch told reporters at Phoenix International Raceway that "I'm utmost apologetic" and that "there's no one to blame but myself."
"There’s an opportunity for me to become a better person, to grow, to learn from this and I’m looking forward to those days," Busch said as he sat next to Gibbs. "I’m sure I have lost some respect from my team, with my sponsors, with my peers and I understand those consequences."
There were other consequences after Busch intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr.'s truck during a caution period in a NASCAR truck race at Texas Motor Speedway.
NASCAR barred the 26-year-old Busch from driving in the Cup and Nationwide races at Texas last weekend, fined him $50,000 and warned him of an "indefinite suspension" if he drove too aggressively again.
His primary Cup sponsor, the M&M's candy company, Thursday pulled its sponsorship for the last two races of the season, including Sunday's race at Phoenix International. There also had been speculation that Gibbs might release Busch.
Busch himself acknowledged, "Was there a point in which I thought, ‘Do I have a ride?’ Of course there was, yeah, I thought about it."
But Gibbs, the NFL Hall of Fame coach, said, "I want to support Kyle" and that "I'm committed to him as a person." He described Busch as a "gifted driver" who made "a bad decision."
--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.
Photo: Kyle Busch. Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt / Getty Images.