NASCAR officials opted against penalizing Kyle Busch for bumping the pace car during Sunday’s Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Busch did not appear on Tuesday’s penalty report. Competition officials had said that Busch’s actions would be addressed in the department’s weekly briefing, but no action was taken.
Busch started his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota from the pole position in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 and led the first six laps before a rain shower dampened the track, prompting the day’s first caution period. Busch’s car skidded into the outside retaining wall and sustained significant damage, relegating him to a last-place finish in the 37-car field. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. also lost control in the melee.
Before his day ended, Busch circled the track under the yellow flag and made contact with the pace car before parking on pit road. He did not return to the race and was critical of NASCAR’s decision to start the event. “We started the race under a mist,” he said. “It never should have gone green to begin with, but then it kept getting worse and worse lap over lap.”
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, later joined NBC Sports’ broadcast team to explain the sanctioning body’s process for starting the race with inclement weather looming in the vicinity of the 1.058-mile track.