News & Media

Harvick, Busch penalties consistent with others

May 10, 2011, ,

The penalties handed down to Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick stemming from their post-race incident on pit road at Darlington Raceway last weekend appear to be consistent with NASCAR's current "hands off" policy.

Since NASCAR officials told drivers and teams beginning in 2010 they would be allowed more free reign to police themselves, at least three incidents have resulted in fines and probation, while other nose-to-nose confrontations have not.

Fine and probation

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were put on probation and fined $25,000 for their post-race antics at Darlington.

In March, Robby Gordon was placed on probation for the rest of the year for a physical altercation involving Kevin Conway in the garage area at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. According to a report filed with police, Gordon threw a couple of punches after an argument ensued stemming from a pair of lawsuits filed over non-payment of funds by Conway's sponsor.

However, Gordon issued a follow-up statement saying "no punches were thrown ... and neither man was injured."

Busch was fined $25,000 and placed on probation for the rest of the 2010 season after a mid-race meltdown at Texas Motor Speedway in November culminated in Busch giving a NASCAR pit official a vulgar finger signal.

"I lost my cool, plain and simple," Busch said. "It's not acceptable, and I know that. I apologize to NASCAR, its fans, all the partners who support Joe Gibbs Racing, and all the people who work so hard to give me a race car that's capable of winning races every week. All of those people deserve better from me, and I owe it to them to keep my emotions in check."

And in the first test of NASCAR's leniency, Carl Edwards was given a three-week probation for intentionally wrecking Brad Keselowski at Atlanta last spring, to which Edwards replied, "I respect NASCAR's penalty and look forward to our meeting in Bristol. I'm ready to put this behind us and get on with some good racing."

On the other hand, the shoving match between Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton on the backstretch at Texas last fall -- with Gordon getting off what appeared on video to be at least one punch -- did not require additional penalties from NASCAR. That was also the case with several other post-race incidents in 2010, most notably Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick at Pocono, followed by Logano and Ryan Newman at Michigan.