AVONDALE, Ariz. - Another chapter in the Kyle Busch saga was written Friday morning at Phoenix International Raceway when the controversial driver and team owner Joe Gibbs met the media.
Busch explained what a toll the week has taken on him personally and how he’s dealt with the aftermath of his celebrated incident with Ron Hornaday in last week’s Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“It’s certainly been a trying week,” Busch said. “This has been a situation that I could have dreamed could have happened and I don’t wish it upon anybody. For me, I’ve certainly had a lot of time to sit and reflect and think and decide and look at what the future entails. For me, my future, I want to be with Joe Gibbs Racing, I want to be in NASCAR, I want to be driving the M&M’s Toyota.’’
Although Mars/M&M’s decided to pull its sponsorship from the No. 18 entry this weekend and in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch will compete in both races carrying Interstate Batteries support.
He expressed his concern for how his actions impacted JGR and potentially an important and lucrative sponsor like Mars/M&Ms.
“This has been quite a trying week for myself and my wife and everybody at M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Interstate Batteries, all the above,” Busch said. “For me, I’m utmost apologetic to everybody that’s been having to go through this situation. There’s no one to blame but myself, so I’m here today to basically say that I apologize to everybody involved in this whole ordeal.”
Busch expressed gratitude for Gibbs staying with him through the situation and his personal commitment.
“Joe has been a huge supporter of mine through all of this and I can’t say enough about him, all the folks at JGR, all the guys on my M&M’s team,” Busch said. “We’re here to say we want learn from this, we want to move on. Certainly, there’s some remorse from my side and to be apologetic to the M&M’s brand and all of those folks that put their heart and soul into this NASCAR program for years. We want to continue that relationship down the road. There’s an opportunity for me to become a better person, to grow, to learn from this and I’m looking forward to those days.
“I’m sure I’ve lost some respect with my team, with my sponsors, with my peers and I understand those consequences. I understand that my actions last weekend were uncalled for, were disrespectful and that I’m here to make sure that I can continue on in a positive manner and make it to where everybody believes in me from this week forward.’’
Gibbs also reiterated his support of Busch but did say there would be more punishment to come in the aftermath of the incident.
“Kyle’s penalties are going to be substantial,” said Gibbs. “The biggest thing for everybody on the 18 was we went from seventh in points in the Chase to 11th. That’s a huge deal. I know Kyle and all of us were excited about getting back into the top five and that will probably take this away from us. That was a big deal for us. We understood that. We also have other actions that are going to be in place. There will be other financial penalties and stuff that we’re working through and will continue to do that as we go forward through this process.”
The stress of the situation was not lost on Gibbs who explained the difficult situation and decisions that were made this week.
“I think for me personally, I just want to make the point when you’re put in the situation like this, you can really make one or two decisions,” said Gibbs. “I think the one (firing) would have been devastating, I think really discouraging for everybody associated with it, Kyle, everybody around him and for the sport. What I’ve chosen to do, I want to support Kyle and I feel like this could have a positive impact on Kyle and I’m committed to him as a person.’’
As for going forward, Gibbs said there were several options still being discussed including the possibility of Busch attending anger management sessions.
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