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Was there a difference between Danica and Kyle Busch incidents?

By admin | May 6, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

 

Last season, Kyle Busch became frustrated with fellow driver Ron Hornaday after the two had gotten together during a Camping World Truck Series race and proceeded to run into his competitor after a caution had been displayed. The result of that second contact sent Hornaday head-on into the wall, destroying his machine and ending his night.

Upon review of the situation, NASCAR decided to ‘bench’ Busch for the remainder of the weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas native was kept out of the following Nationwide and Sprint Cup races on the following Saturday and Sunday.

This past Saturday afternoon, a somewhat similar occurrence took place at the very end of the Nationwide Series event at the Talladega SuperSpeedway. As the cars raced to the finish line, Sam Hornish, Jr. drifted toward the outside wall. Trouble was, Danica Patrick already occupied that space and the two machines came in contact with one another. Patrick’s car was forced into the outside wall which caused minor right side damage.

As the two cars drove on toward turn one, Patrick caught up with Hornish and tagged his rear bumper. The Hornish car turned almost head-on into the outside wall, causing significant damage.

“We blew out a right front tire coming off of turn four,” Hornish explained regarding the initial contact. “By the time I got to the tri-oval the car wouldn’t turn anymore. I was doing everything I could do to get slowed down and stay out of the wall. But obviously, we weren’t able to do that. Then I got hooked into the wall after the race was over which isn’t very cool at all.”

After the two drivers brought their machines onto pit road they briefly discussed the matter.

Hornish was asked by an ABC reporter about the nature of that discussion. “She said ‘yeah right’,” he responded. “I’m not sure why anyone would drive in on the bottom of the tri-oval and then run themselves into the wall on the exit just to prove a point. I don’t know, she’s got something stuck in her head that isn’t quite right and spinning somebody after the race is over isn’t right either.”

The two incidents in question seemed remarkably similar, yet there is no talk of a forthcoming Danica suspension. There’s little question her post-race move was intentional, just as there was little question in the Busch incident. So, why the difference?

I’m not necessarily saying I think Danica should be parked. Last November, I wrote two separate pieces on the Busch matter in which I argued both sides.

After having said, “Boys(or Girls), have at it” it’s more than a little contradictory to park a driver who is “Having at it”. But on the other hand, the move by Busch last year was dangerous and unsportsmanlike, as was the move by Danica on Saturday.

So, again, I’m not necessarily calling for some sort of suspension. I’m just asking why the two very similar situations are being treated differently.

One possible explanation would be to say that Busch had a somewhat notable track record as a ‘bad boy’ prior to the Hornaday incident. And even though NASCAR often says they don’t take previous troubles into account, human nature suggests that is difficult not to do so. Danica, on the other hand, has no real track record of misbehavior so perhaps she received the benefit of the doubt in this case.

However, if that is indeed the case, then isn’t that telling every driver they have one free shot before any serious penalty will come their way?

Of course, another possibility some might suggest would be that suspending Danica would be bad for business. Since sponsors seems to covet her endorsements and since she is at the center of much of the marketing campaign for the Nationwide Series, causing her to miss a race could hurt the bottom line. Whereas, suspending Busch might actually help business in that it helps perpetuate that ‘villain’ image he carries as well as soothes fans who do not like him.

Obviously, if the reason these two situations are being treated differently is because of what was stated in the previous paragraph, NASCAR has a major credibility problem on its hands.

I don’t know whether there ought to be any punishment for Danica Patrick for what happened on the cool down lap at Talladega. What I do know is that there was a punishment handed down for Kyle Busch in what seemed to be a very similar circumstance. So, my real question in this piece is more about whether or not NASCAR is treating everyone the same in their rulings. And for any sports sanctioning body, that is a question that must have a right answer if that organization is to be considered legitimate.

Topics: Articles |

17 Responses to “Was there a difference between Danica and Kyle Busch incidents?”

  1. Tyler West Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 8:47 am

    There was no difference in the two! But because Nascar is trying to kiss her but they won’t do anything to her. I didn’t think they should have penalized Kyle but the “fans” don’t like him so he got punished. All they’ll do to her is blow smoke up her rear!! SHE SUCKS!! I’m so fed up with all her crap, she’s a joke. I can’t stand how Nascar shows favorites and all the idiots just follow along. Park her A@#!! But that’s not happening because she has a big money sponsor and nobody will pressure them to park their “driver”(product endorser). Get rid of her all together! She’s waste of time.

  2. Tyler West Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 8:58 am

    They have no credibility after Hendrick got his way earlier this season after being caught with a car that didn’t meet the templates. They pick and choose who gets punished. No Chevy team will ever get a serious punishment. Count on that. They have let the media and sponsors and driver popularity dictate how they govern the sport. The only “grey” area that exists anymore is in how they interpret their own rules. What gives? But, to be clear, I don’t think any driver should be penalized for settling the score. It’s what makes racing good. They say have at it and then act like they are ashamed of the actions. All the races this year that have been clean have sucked. They can’t have it both ways. I don’t think they (NASCAR) get that part.

  3. Jeff Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Are you kidding me?!?!?!?! She is brand new to the sport and for some reason thinks she is hustified doing what she did???? seriously I have been a long time Nascar fan and if they do not park her for the weekend im done watching and attending races….its becoming nothing more than a money making media circus by the day!!

  4. john Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 9:46 am

    There is a big difference. Kyle’s took a championship contender out of the race before the half way mark of the race beating on him for 1/2 a lap before putting him in the wall. there were only 2 truck races left at the time. Danica was forced into the wall while going for position her retat was after the immediately after the checkered flag on the cool down lap. There have been reports that the tire in question was not flat until after Danica put him in the wall. If she dosen’t show some strengh all the boys will put her in the wall on the last lap to gain her position and she just sent tham a message , I will fight back.

  5. mr clause Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 10:18 am

    This is typical NASCRAP! The rules are used not on any consistent basis but, simply on the whim of the four stooges, BZF,Helton,Darby, and worst of all Pemberton. Tell me what is worse, Danica’s cheap shot and refusal to accept any explanation or a competitor voicing an opinion? One will bring a 50k fine the other will get smiles from the same people. NASCAR would not let another competitor have a pass on that petulant move. Wonder what would have happened had it been Sam that dumped the princess?

  6. Nick Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    The two situations were VERY different. I’m not sticking up for Danica, but Watch the video. In Kyle Busch’s situation, he locked on to Hornaday and just kept pushing and pushing and pushing, Hornaday was sideways all the way through the corner and did a great job holding on to it. When Busch wasn’t getting the job done, he switched sides and hooked the right rear corner to finish him off. VERY DELIBERATE. In Danica’s situation, I was quite suprised Hornish turned into the wall, possibly it had something to do with the tire going down and his car being very squirlly. Danica really didn’t hit him that hard. The closing rate to Hornish was not significant. It looked like she was just going to give him a quick tap to show her displeasure, it was a quick tap that had a bad result. The difference really is the “intention”. Her’s was not malicious, just simply a “hey, I’m not taking your crap” message that turned out much worse than it should have. Much like when Carl Edwards tried to simply spin out Brad Keselowski and the results were nearly disasterous as Brad went flying through the air. So I think intenion has a lot to do with it. She’ll be warned to not do it again, as the results are not always forseen when retaliating. I don’t believe she tried to put him in the wall, was just sending a message that she’ll dish it out as much as she takes it.

  7. Kelly Edwards Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    NASCAR continues to have their Etch-A-Sketch rule book. They can set or remove rules by the shake of their pad. Danica pulled her spoiled girl, petulant behavior act, just like she did in Indycars. For this incident, at the very least she needs to be put on probation. We all know NASCAR will never sit her down, so all we can hope for is that someday soon, she’ll screw with the wrong driver and he’ll put her into the wall. Payback can be a real bear, and it’s something she deserves. Just because she’s a woman doesn’t ean she can’t be taught a lesson. If you’re going to run with the boys, you have to expect to be slapped.

  8. DMan Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    as far as im concerned, “have at it” belongs between the green and the checkered but not under yellow. since brian france has taken the reins of NA$$$CAR, it has been all about the almighty dollar and Ms. Snarky does sell tickets and merchandise for whatever reason. she should be parked like kyle was. at the very least she should be fined and points taken away for unsportsmanlike conduct….which she DOES have a long history of. ’nuff said.

  9. Michael in SoCal Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Hey Tyler - check your facts. Among the first COT penalties were 100 points and $100K penalties to the 24 & 48, along with a similar penalty to Junior in the 8. These are major Chevy teams. Also, the issue with the C-post on the 48 this year came up because of a visual inspection. The car fit the template.

    It is a bummer when the facts get in the way of a perfectly good comment though…

  10. Jerome Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Great article, as usual Rich. I am not a Danica fan. I think she, and drivers like her, are part of what is going wrong with this sport. Drivers get a ride based on reasons other than talent. In Ms. Patricks case I think she is starting to believe the hype. “There is a lot of fuss about me and a lot of coverage then I must be great.” Her talent/performance does not live up to the hype. My worry is that an ego (such as hers) unchecked will lead to more entiltled, petulant behavior, for which she is well known. That being said, I don’t think she should be parked. I think all such nonsense-wrecking people after races, during cautions, on pit road-needs to stop before someone gets hurt.
    I will be curious to see what DW has to say about the incident. He will be wetting himself with praise for Ms. Patrick, I am sure.

  11. Steven Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Danica owns Nascar and the broadcasters.

  12. Offkilter Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Maybe Danica had a b.s. “brakes were gone” to counter Hornish’s b.s. “flat tire”

  13. RoyBoy21 Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    The biggest differences between the two:
    1) Busch has a long track-record of ill-advised stunts, while this is Danica’s first stunt
    2) Busch was part-timer racing “down” two levels and took out a Championship contender, ending any chance of a title for the 33 at the end of the season. Danica is still establishing herself.

  14. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Danicamaniac is just as spun out as the Spinner Rims, and I feel it is a big problem,Rich.

  15. johhnyo Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    you people are unbelieveable, what she did is not different then what about all those drivers do one time or other, and to say she doesnt belong out there, what the hell are you talking about, there is 43 drivers and about 15 of those should be on the track, the rest are just there to collect a paycheck, get real

  16. Tom P. Says:
    May 8th, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Much less egregious than the Busch incident. But, not even worthy of a trip to the NASCAR trailer? One can only hope that there is some consistency applied when the shoe is on the other foot.

  17. Steve Says:
    May 9th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    People seem to forget that Edwards practically punted Kes into the crowd at Atlanta and nothing was done to him. That incident was more in line with this incident than Kyle Busch getting suspended at Texas last year. Plus Danica is not a repeat offender and did not take out a championship contender. Big difference.

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