Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: Kyle Busch

NASCAR pulls Kyle Busch from Sprint Cup, Nationwide races in Texas

Busch-hornaday_600

In an extremely rare move, NASCAR suspended driver Kyle Busch from competing in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races in Texas this weekend as a penalty for Busch intentionally wrecking another driver in a truck race Friday night.

Busch, long known for his aggressive driving, shoved the truck driven by championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr. into the wall during a caution period after the two had tangled in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

After meeting Saturday morning with Busch and his team owner, NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, NASCAR President Mike Helton announced Busch's suspension from the Nationwide race later Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday.

Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota in the Cup series, is one of the 12 drivers competing for the series title in the "Chase for the Cup" playoff. He's currently seventh in the standings, 57 points behind leader Carl Edwards.

Although NASCAR has let drivers settle more of their on-track differences on their own -- the so-called "Boys, have at it" policy -- Helton told reporters in Texas that Busch went too far, prompting NASCAR to take the rare step of benching a driver for an upcoming race.

"The responsibility over the past two or three seasons we've given back to the drivers came, I think, with a very clear understanding that there could be a line that got crossed," Helton said, adding that "we saw it last night."

Gibbs said Denny Hamlin would drive Busch's car in the Nationwide race, and Michael McDowell would replace Busch in the Cup race.

Gibbs told reporters in Texas that he supported NASCAR and had "great faith in the decisions they make."

"This was a tough one for us," Gibbs said. "You don't like it but we're certainly going to try and work our way through this one and do the right thing and try and handle it the right way."

--Jim Peltz

Photo: The No. 33 truck driven by Ron Hornaday Jr. is pushed into the wall by the truck of driver Kyle Busch during the NASCAR Truck Series race on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Credit: David Kent / McClatchy-Tribune

NASCAR's Chase leads weekend's motor racing

A bit of controversy hangs over the start of NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup, the 10-race championship playoff that opens Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Jimmie Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, with four wins apiece in the Sprint Cup Series so far this season, lead the 12 drivers in the Chase with 2,012 points each. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon follows with 2,009.

Harvick won last week’s race in Richmond, Va., after his Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard spun out late in the race to bring out a caution flag. Harvick then beat Gordon off pit road and held off Gordon for the victory.

Gordon later said the timing of Menard’s spinout was “a little fishy,” and NASCAR President Mike Helton said the sanctioning body would look into it.

But team owner Richard Childress said in a statement Friday “there were no team orders” given to Menard to spin to help Harvick's cause and that Menard “wouldn’t have spun out on purpose even if he had been asked.”

Jimmie Johnson, aiming for a record sixth consecutive title, also is back in the Chase along with 2004 champion Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch’s older brother.

Johnson and Kurt Busch have had a running feud in recent weeks, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- another Chase contender and teammate of Johnson's at Hendrick Motorsports-- was asked Friday if he was curious about how the Johnson-Busch spat might play out this weekend.

“It bores the [expletive] out of me, to be honest,” Earnhardt said. “I’ve got my own damn problems to worry about.”

The Izod IndyCar Series, meanwhile, is racing Sunday for the final time at the Twin Ring Motegi track in Japan, where Danica Patrick won her only IndyCar event in 2008. Patrick is moving to NASCAR stock-car racing next year.

With three races left in the season, the IndyCar championship is coming down to a battle between current point leader Dario Franchitti, who is shooting for his third consecutive championship and fourth overall, and Team Penske’s Will Power, who is only five points behind Franchitti and seeking his first title.

In drag racing, the six-race title playoff in the National Hot Rod Assn.’s Full Throttle Series opens this weekend with the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals in Charlotte, N.C.

Del Worsham currently leads the NHRA’s top-fuel class by 30 points over Antron Brown, and Mike Neff leads the funny car division by 30 points over Jack Beckman. The series finale is Nov. 10-13 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

And on Saturday night, late-model stock cars make their last appearance of the season as part of a multi-race lineup at the half-mile Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. Brandon Davis of Huntington Beach currently leads the point standings in that series.

The Formula One series is off this weekend ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept. 25.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, left, and Jeff Gordon take in the sights of Chicago ahead of Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway that opens NASCAR's Chase title playoff. Credit: David Banks/Getty Images

 

Travis Pastrana's injuries force him to scrap NASCAR series debut

Travis Pastrana to miss NASCAR debut
Plans for action sports star Travis Pastrana to make his debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday night were scrapped after Pastrana crashed at X Games 17 in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Pastrana, 27, broke his right foot and ankle while attempting jumps on a motorcycle, and NASCAR team owner Michael Waltrip said Friday the injuries precluded Pastrana from competing in the Nationwide race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

"It was an easy decision to make, just disappointing," Waltrip later told reporters. "The main thing is Travis' health."

Waltrip said the team now was looking at having Pastrana make his Nationwide debut at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 9 and "he's going to work with his doctors and find out if that's realistic."

Kyle Busch, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and 2009 Nationwide Series champion, was asked about Pastrana's crash as Busch prepared for the Brickyard 400 Cup race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"If you're coming so close to your [Nationwide] debut ... when you're doing tricks and flips and everything else on motorcycles and backflips and stuff, it's probably not a good idea," Busch said.

-- Jim Peltz, reporting from Indianapolis

Photo: Travis Pastrana crashes during X Games 17 in Los Angeles on Thursday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

NASCAR owner Richard Childress says fans tried to pay his fine from reported fight with Kyle Busch

Childress

NASCAR team owner Richard Childress said Friday that fans sent in donations to help cover his $150,000 fine for his reported fight with driver Kyle Busch, but that he would be paying the fine himself.

"We had a lot of fans ... send in donations last week toward our fine," Childress told reporters at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., site of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

"I am going to pay it personally," Childress said in a transcript released by Team Chevy Racing. "All that money that has been sent in, that is still coming in, we're going to take and donate [it] to the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"At least in a bad situation, something good will come out of it," he said.

NASCAR levied the fine on Childress after the 65-year-old grandfather reportedly grabbed Busch, 26, in a headlock and punched him in the garage at Kansas Speedway after a NASCAR truck race last Saturday.

Childress reportedly was angry at how the always aggressive Busch had treated some of Childress' drivers on the track in recent weeks, including his driver in the truck race, Joey Coulter. Before that, Childress driver Kevin Harvick and Busch tangled on pit road immediately after a Cup race in Darlington, S.C.

"I am passionate about my race teams, our fans, and I let my emotions get ... come in front of my passion," Childress said. "Hopefully Kyle and myself will both end up learning something from this."

Separately, Busch -- who was not penalized for any actions at Kansas -- told reporters at Pocono that his contact with Coulter's truck during that race's cool-down lap was "a congratulatory bump" but that it still "tipped him [Childress] over the edge."

"There was no malicious intent to be involved in hurting or damaging an RCR [Richard Childress Racing] vehicle," Busch said in a transcript released by Toyota Motorsports. "I feel like I've acted in the utmost respect to every case that's come up my way and has been thrown in front of me."

RELATED:

NASCAR owner Richard Childress reportedly fights Kyle Busch

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Richard Childress speaks to the media Friday at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Credit: Mel Evans / Associated Press

NASCAR fines Richard Childress $150,000 for reported fight with Kyle Busch

NASCAR levied a $150,000 fine on longtime team owner Richard Childress on Monday for an incident in which Childress reportedly fought with driver Kyle Busch in the garage at Kansas Speedway.

Childress1 Childress, 65, also was placed on probation until Dec. 31 for what NASCAR described only as "an altercation," but that multiple media outlets said involved Childress getting Busch in a headlock and punching him more than once before they were separated Saturday after a NASCAR truck race.

NASCAR also issued a rare additional statement along with the penalty, saying it was "confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately."

Childress responded with a statement saying he was "responsible for my actions." He said he accepted the penalty and that he let "passion and my emotions get the best of me."

Childress has been a team owner in what is now NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, along with its lower-level car and truck series, for decades, and he won six Cup championships with the late Dale Earnhardt. Busch, 26, whose nicknames include "Rowdy," is one of the sport's most controversial figures.

The fight came Saturday after Busch had tangled on the track with one of Childress' drivers, Joey Coulter, in the truck race at Kansas Speedway. Last month, Busch also had a run-in with Kevin Harvick, one of Childress' drivers in the Cup series, after a race in Darlington, S.C.

Childress' action quickly ignited a debate over whether he overreacted or whether Busch was asking for trouble.

A number of NASCAR fans posted comments on the Los Angeles Times' website siding with Childress, and some motor-racing writers agreed. Others argued that regardless of Busch's on-track actions, Childress had gone too far.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR team owner Richard Childress at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 16. Credit: Terry Renna / Associated Press

NASCAR owner Richard Childress reportedly fights Kyle Busch

When NASCAR ushered in its "Boys, have at it" doctrine, who knew it would include grandpas as well?

Childress NASCAR said Richard Childress, the 65-year-old team owner and grandfather, was involved in an "incident" with the feisty driver Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway after a NASCAR truck race Saturday and now faces possible penalties.

Multiple media reports said Childress was miffed that Busch, 26, bumped into Childess driver Joey Coulter on the cool-down lap after the two drivers had battled for position in the race.

Childress reportedly went to the garage area, put Busch in a headlock and punched him more than once before the two were separated.

"Richard Childress' actions were not appropriate," NASCAR said in a statement Sunday before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, adding that it would "announce our actions regarding this incident Monday."

Childress has been a team owner for four decades, and won six stock-car championships with the late Dale Earnhardt, the sport's iconic "Intimidator." His current drivers are Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard.

Childress' frustration with Busch also might have stemmed from an incident last month when Harvick and Busch tangled after the race in Darlington, S.C., in which Harvick threw a punch into Busch's window on pit road and Busch responded by using his car to push Harvick's car out of the way. 

Both drivers were placed on probation until June 15, but NASCAR said Sunday that Busch's involvement in the incident with Childress did not violate his probation "and no further action is required."

NASCAR last year introduced the "Boys, have at it" philosophy whereby drivers were given more leeway to be aggressive and show emotion without fear of penalties. But drivers still have been penalized in some cases for what NASCAR deemed egregious behavior.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR team owner Richard Childress walks away from the stock-car hauler after meeting with officials about his reported fight with driver Kyle Busch at Kansas Speedway. Credit: John Harrelson / Getty Images

Kyle Busch discusses next week's Prelude to the Dream race

The Prelude to the Dream race is a throwback to the humble beginnings of stock-car racing. The event highlights modern-day superstars returning to the roots of car racing by competing on a dirt track in a dirt late model stock car. The drivers do not compete for points and winnings, but for charity. This year's event will take place Wednesday at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and will benefit four of the nation’s top children’s hospitals.

Kyle Busch, a participant in this year's race, discusses his favorite memory of the event:

My most memorable moment from the Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway happened to be my first time there in 2007, which was also my first time running a dirt late model.

It was Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and I all battling it out for the win. I got to Carl once, but I couldn’t quite get by him. At least I think I woke him up and gave him a run for his money. They’re always fun nights. Of all the years we’ve done it, I got to finish second in that first year for me.

Continue reading »

Former F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen coming to NASCAR truck series

Trucks

The Iceman cometh, to NASCAR that is.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion known as "the Iceman" for his laconic demeanor, signed to drive a limited number of races this year in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series.

The Finn will race for a team owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, and it should make for an interesting pairing, given that Busch is one of stock-car racing's most outspoken competitors whose own nicknames include "Rowdy" and "Wild Thing."

Busch's team said Saturday that Raikkonen would debut in the truck race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on May 20. The rest of his truck schedule will be released at a later date, the team said.

"We are honored" to have Raikkonen, 31, join the team, Busch said in a statement. "I look forward to assisting in Kimi's transition to NASCAR as both an owner and teammate."

Raikkonen said in the same release that he was "really excited to have the opportunity to start my venture into NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports."

Continue reading »

Kyle Busch gambles, wins NASCAR Nationwide race at Fontana

Kyle-busch_350 Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday in Fontana after his crew chief gambled on changing only two tires on Busch's car late in the race while other leaders changed four.

Busch's victory in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway was his second consecutive Nationwide win, and he's won three of the first five Nationwide races this season.

On a chilly, overcast day, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick had the dominant cars for most of the 150-lap race, with Busch running third or fourth.

But when the field was forced to make pit stops with less than 20 laps remaining, Jason Ratcliff, the crew chief on Busch's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, called for changing only two tires while Edwards and Harvick changed four.

That gave Busch the lead he needed to hold off Edwards and Harvick during the final laps, with those drivers finishing second and third, respectively.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, Elliott Sadler was fifth and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne finished sixth.

NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series races Sunday at Fontana in the Auto Club 400.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Kyle Busch celebrates with his crew after winning the NASCAR Nationwide race on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Credit: Will Lester / Associated Press

Juan Pablo Montoya wins pole for NASCAR race in Fontana

Juan Pablo Montoya, the former open-wheel racing star who's still looking for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on an oval track, won the pole position Friday for the Auto Club 400 in Fontana on Sunday. 

MontoyaMontoya, who drives the No. 42 Chevrolet for the team of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, turned a lap of 184.653 mph on the two-mile Auto Club Speedway oval to win the top spot in the 43-car field.

Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing qualified second at 184.270 mph and will start next to Montoya on the front row.

Since moving to stock-car racing in 2007, Montoya has two wins in the Cup series -- both of which came on curvy road courses. But he has yet to win on an oval speedway.

Hamlin teammate Kyle Busch, who was forced to use his back-up Toyota in qualifying after crashing his primary car in practice earlier in the day, qualified eighth.

Defending race winner and reigning champion Jimmie Johnson qualified 16th, Carl Edwards was 18th and Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 30th in the 43-car field.

RELATED:

NASCAR's Kyle Busch crashes in opening Fontana practice

Christian Slater, Sugar Ray Leonard in guest gigs at Fontana NASCAR race

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya during practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Credit: Robert Laberge / Getty Images

NASCAR's Kyle Busch crashes in opening Fontana practice

KB Kyle Busch crashed Friday in the opening practice for Sunday's race in Fontana, forcing his Joe Gibbs Racing team to bring out his backup No. 18 Toyota. Busch was not hurt.

After a night and morning of rain in Southern California, the two-mile Auto Club Speedway had just opened for practice when Busch hit an undetected wet spot and lost control. His car slammed into the turn-four wall, then plowed through the drenched infield grass in front of pit road.

"You just skip right across [the wet spot] real quick and you think it’s OK and then you go to the throttle and the thing spins out," Busch said.

David Reutimann had the fastest car in practice, followed by Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle. Qualifying was scheduled later Friday to set the race's 43-car field.

Busch, 25, won last week's race in Bristol, Tenn.

ALSO:

Christian Slater, Sugar Ray Leonard in guest gigs at Fontana NASCAR race

IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti visits L.A. Live

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Kyle Busch in 2008. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.



Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.

Categories


Archives
 


Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: