It’ll be interesting to learn how big of an engine NASCAR President Mike Helton has under his hood when addressing NASCAR Sprint points leader Kyle Busch’s recent boorish behavior.
Yesterday, Kyle Busch pleaded guilty to speeding and no contest to reckless and careless driving when clocked doing 128 mph in a 45 mph zone. The incident took place on May 24, 2011 in Iridell County, North Carolina along a winding country road lined with a daycare center, churches and several residential developments. It was also a path frequented by cyclists and local farm tractors.
As consequence for putting his pedal to the metal in his $400,000 high-performance 2012 Lexus, Busch lost his driver’s license and received a $1,000 fine with 30 hours of community service and one year of unsupervised probation. Surprisingly, when originally apprehended, Busch joked with local officers by referring to his modified sports car as “just a toy.”
However, the Iredell County Judge’s sentence should pale in comparison to what Mike Helton needs to do. As NASCAR President, Helton should follow the lead of titular heads of other professional sports like the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL by disciplining Busch for conduct unacceptable from those representing their sports. Busch’s inexcusable behavior and blatant disregard for the safety of others should warrant more than a yellow caution flag.
Now that the North Carolina Judge has ruled, Helton must immediately take out the black flag, slam the brakes on Busch and wave him in for an extended pit stop. Helton needs to suspend NASCAR’s outspoken bad boy from future Sprint Cup races for his reckless conduct in the same way Roger Goodell enforced the NFL’s conduct policy on Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger last year and will more than likely administer to Titans’ WR Kenny Britt and Bucs’ CB Aqib Talib this year.
Busch has long carried a huge chip on his shoulder and is no stranger to controversy. Rival racers have accused Busch of brashly bumping cars during races, while NASCAR competitors Jeff Gordon jested that he’s a jerk, and Kevin Harvick called Busch a clown. Also, in November the cocky and aggressive Sprint Cup leader flipped off a NASCAR official during a Cup race in Texas and then feuded with team owner Richard Childress at the Kansas Speedway in June.
Busch’s continued antics need to be addressed by NASCAR leadership. His sentencing in North Carolina warrants much more than a caution flag.
OK, Mr. Helton, start your engine. Let’s see what you’ve got under that hood.
Straight talk. No static.
MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!