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In light of Kyle Busch penalty, how was Brian Vickers not parked?

By admin | November 13, 2011

By Richard Allen


On Sunday in Phoenix, NASCAR again proved it has no absolute understanding of its own policy. For two years, drivers have been told to “Have at it” as a means of settling their differences. However, the sanctioning body’s rulings of the past few weeks have offered no clear indication of where the line is regarding that unofficial policy.

For the purpose of what is almost certainly an unnecessary refresher, Kyle Busch was parked in the middle of a Camping World Truck Series race in Texas when he intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday. That punishment was then extended to the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events of that same weekend.

So a line in the sand was drawn, right?

Well, apparently not. During the Kobalt Tools 500, driver Brian Vickers slammed Matt Kenseth on lap 178, forcing the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford into the outside wall and causing significant damage.

To offer some background, Kenseth and Vickers had a run-in recently at Martinsville in which Kenseth’s car hit that of Vickers and sent him into the fence and caused significant damage. Kenseth reported that Vickers had gotten into him multiple times in the laps leading up the incident and that he had tired of it and “Had at it.”

Later on in that same race, one in which Vickers was responsible for several caution flags, his #83 Team Red Bull Toyota retaliated against Kenseth with a hard shove in the rear. But that did not settle the score in Vickers’ mind. He has essentially advertised the notion that he intended to again wreck Kenseth when the opportunity presented itself.

That opportunity presented itself in Phoenix. To be fair it must be pointed out that Vickers claims he did not get into Kenseth on purpose and that the #17 had slowed dramatically due to a brake failure. But at the same time it must be pointed out that a number of other drivers had managed to make their way around Kenseth, who was running an exceptionally high line around the track to avoid other cars.

With all that said, it seemed to this writer that the move by Vickers was a blatant take out maneuver. Considering that he has stated his intention to wreck Kenseth and the fact that so many other missed the slowing car, the evidence seems overwhelming.

To me, this action was every bit as bad, if not worse, than that of Busch in Texas. At least Busch’s situation could be chalked up to the heat of the moment. Vickers’ takes on more the appearance of premeditation over weeks.

So why the heavy handed punishment of Busch but not of Vickers? The answer to me seems simple. As stated before, NASCAR has no real grasp of its own policy. They have certainly relished in the promotion of “Have at it” and have certainly not discouraged television networks and other forms of media from brandishing the term as often as possible. They just haven’t bothered to lay down any clear guidelines or develop a standard way of handing down punishments.

Quite simply, if Busch was parked, how could Vickers not be?

NASCAR says it was because they perceived the incident as a ‘racing deal’. “Had we felt it was more than a racing incident, we would have reacted,” declared Director of Competition John Darby. That was laughable and insulting.

This column was in no way meant to endorse or excuse the actions of Kyle Busch in Texas or even to condemn Vickers‘ actions in Phoenix. Instead, it was written to question NASCAR’s policy and the punishments handed down as a result of that policy.

What happened in Phoenix was essentially the same as what happened in Texas. NASCAR’s reaction to it was not. That inconsistency makes it difficult to take the sport’s rule makers seriously.

Topics: Articles |

14 Responses to “In light of Kyle Busch penalty, how was Brian Vickers not parked?”

  1. Charles Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 7:26 am

    This is what I have been talking about…Here Nascar demonizes Kyle Busch…but Bryan Vickers seems to get a pass for doing something as bad or worse!

    Why Kyles incident was in the truck series, and was bad and needed punishment… but the Vickers incident was in Sprint Series , and it invoilve a possible Chase Contender as well!!!!!

    Granted Kennseth seem to get into Vickers at Martinsville, but I thought he had gotten Kennseth back with another hit that day and damaged him and everything was even!

    Nascar by not even offer to park Vickers shows favoritism! to some, seems to me, its who gets hit and the politics of the ones involved!

    Anyway Nascar needs to get this one right.. they owe Joe Gibbs and Busch a apology if they dont, this was worse than what Kyle Busch did!!!!!!

  2. Glen H Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    It coud be because Busch wrecked Hornaday under yellow and Vickers wrecked Kennseth under green.

    Or it could be that in the WWE, you’ve got heels (bad guys) and good guys.

    NA$CAR is sports entertainment and they need to have their story lines, heels and good guys. What’s a better story line than to park a heel (Busch) for a weekend and get everyone talking about it?

  3. mr clause Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I think the stupid part of this Vickers deal was NASCAR saying that “they didn’t actually see the incident”. Well would it have hurt to walk next door and take a look at the tape? Every time people think NASCAR can’t make any more stupid decisions here they go again. If it wasn’t so pathetically bush league it would be funny. NASCAR is pretty much in suicide mode.

  4. Kenny Powers Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Vickers drives like a dickhead. What he needs is a all day country ass whoopin’

  5. Jeff Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Kudos to Richard Allen for accurately describing this whole situation as laughable and insulting. Its amazing how all the used-car salesmen like John Darby that run NASCAR cant figure out why they have the reputation they have.

  6. Sue Rarick Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks Rich for being an oasis in this past two weeks insanity.

    I didn’t think Kyle should have been suspended and I don’t think Vickers should be suspended. It’s racing, stupid maybe, but still it’s the beating and banging so many people say they want (till it’s their driver getting the bad end of it).

    The one thing that has become obvious is that for much of the media there is definitely a lack of journalistic objectivity. Comparing the Vickers incident with last weeks, there is no other conclusion that can be made.

  7. Mike Hug Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    An easy way to understand it all is to think what would happen if the cars in question had no numbers & no “name” drivers? The driver in the truck series might have been parked for the rest of that race. THAT”S ALL! The driver in the cup series might have been called for a stop & go, or 1 lap? Maybe nothing? Most has to do with the PEOPLE involved, NOT the actions or when!!

  8. Moe Foe Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Brain Vickers has been on a demo-derby schedule almost all season. He retaliated on smoke at Sonoma, booted Montoya a coupla times (nothing new there), aimed for #48 and missed, hit Kenseth in two different races. It’s as if the brains have a few photos in common, to Vicker’s advantage.

    NASCAR needs to get away from who they are penalizing, and get on to why. There is no reason for anyone to use their car as a weapon! Flat! No excuses… In the old days, they had at it, but they didn’t wreck cars! They either owned the car, and had to fix it, or they had to talk to the guy who did own it and the guy they were mad at was the least of their worries.

    They need to stop wrecking intentionally. Go back behind the haulers and beat each other senseless (I know, an oxymoron for stock car drivers), but wreck someone intentional and they should sit for the race…and the next one, too.

    Yes, Vickers shoulda sat at least 4 times this year. Edwards needed one for last year’s Keslowski deal. And Jimmy needs to practice more before he intentionally tries to wreck anyone again.

  9. loose nut Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    NASCAR can’t get out of their own way! I am no Kyle Busch fan, but NASCAR should be equal across the board. Vickers is a nobody who want be missed when he loses his ride!

  10. Nascarxtm Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    “To me, this action was every bit as bad, if not worse, than that of Busch in Texas”. This statement coming from you just blows my mind.

    Is the media so wrapped around Kyle that it has damaged it’s collective mind” Of course Vickers deserved a one-lap penalty and perhaps a monetary penalty as well, but to compare the two events is plain loco.

  11. Mopar21277 Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Exactly Moe Foe, quit tearing up good race cars and causing teams tens of thousands of dollars in damage b/c you are too much of a punk-lame ass to confront a driver like a man.

    Vickers is auditioning for a Street Stock ride at Bowman Grey for 2012 as no one wants him in NASCAR. Hell maybe he can be a teammate to Junior Miller in the modifieds…

  12. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Come on,Rich, I wish NASCAR was in the People Business and Vickers is haunted by both Ricky Hendrick and Rob Moroso and I feel the 2nd was the Busch Record and I would love to see Kyle “Learn His Lesson” by trying to be picked up by another Used Car Salesman in Turner Motorsports, who would gladly send Reed Sorenson to JGR.

  13. Bill B Says:
    November 14th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    At the very least Vickers should have been parked for the rest of the race with some type of penalty levied after. Given the fact that he has seemed to have a lot of problems wrecking others the last few weeks, perhaps that should have tipped the scales toward a race suspension.
    There were some differences between Busch’s scenario and Vickers’ but if I were a driver I’d still be wondering where that line is.
    BTW, if Vickers is hoping to land a ride he sure has a strange way of going about it. Is there any team left that he hasn’t had a problem with in the last few weeks?

  14. Russ Edwards Says:
    November 16th, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Thats what happens when you have a rulebook that nobody has seen, and nobody can find the secret decoder ring.