Kyle Busch, forced to miss NASCAR races, apologizes for retaliation
After being forced to sit out two NASCAR races this weekend, including Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race in Texas, Kyle Busch issued an open letter of apology that said "I have no one to blame but myself."
Busch initially defended his actions after he intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr. after the two earlier banged fenders in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night.
But after NASCAR penalized him by taking the rare step of prohibiting Busch from driving in Sunday's Cup race and in the second-level Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Busch apologized to his Joe Gibbs Racing team, his fans, his sponsors and to Hornaday.
"I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend," Busch stated in his letter. "NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions."
Denny Hamlin, Busch's Gibbs teammate, drove for Busch in the Nationwide race and finished second to winner Trevor Bayne. Michael McDowell is driving for Busch on Sunday.
Busch, 26, is a lightning rod among NASCAR fans, an aggressive, excellent and daring driver who also can be volatile and temperamental. He routinely draws a loud mix of boos and cheers in pre-race introductions, and his nicknames include "Rowdy" and "Wild Thing."
Busch, who was seventh in the Cup standings entering Sunday's race, seemed to mature somewhat this season and be less prone to risky, unwarranted maneuvers on the track. But "this was certainly a step backward," Busch acknowledged.
He added: "I know my long-term actions will have more of a bearing than anything I say right now."
Photo: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch on Oct. 21 at Talladega Superspeedway. Credit: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images