In the good old days that NASCAR fans like to wax rhapsodic about Billy France would have had Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs, Joey Logano and Roger Penske in his office first thing Monday morning and he would be reading them the riot act, just like he did to Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine in the mid-1980s.
And maybe that kind of tough love — or more correctly, instilling the fear of God in those involved — is in order.
Logano and Busch certainly have had their moments of bad behavior in the past.
The only Joe Gibbs Racing driver Logano hasn’t had a serious beef with is Daniel Suarez and that’s probably because he’s only a rookie with three starts.
Logano and JGR’s Denny Hamlin brawled at Bristol and then Logano got loose and hit Hamlin at Auto Club Speedway in 2013, sending Hamlin headfirst into the wall where he broke his back.
In 2015, Logano wrecked Matt Kenseth going for the win in Kansas, which led to Kenseth earning a two-race suspension for drilling Logano into the wall at Martinsville in retaliation.
Now, Logano got loose and wrecked Busch at his home track of Las Vegas.
Afterward, Busch vented his displeasure by walking up to Logano and punching him in the face with a right-hand hook, triggering a brawl with Logano’s Team Penske crew that resulted in Busch walking away with a bloodied face.
Busch, it should be pointed out, has had his share of transgressions. He was suspended for one race in 2011 for deliberately wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Less than a year ago, Busch was fined $10,000 for failing to fulfill his media obligations after a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Auto Club.
There were other incidents, too: Flipping off an official on pit road at Texas in 2010 earned Busch a $25,000 fine; a year later, he was fined a similar amount for a scuffle at Darlington, where he pushed Kevin Harvick’s unoccupied car on pit road.
The point is both these drivers are among the best in the sport at racing, and both have had their share of bad behavior in races.
Busch should be smart enough – and mature enough – to know not to walk up to another driver and punch him in the face.
And Logano has to learn he can’t keep wrecking people and saying it’s just hard racing. There’s a reason Busch punched him — this wasn’t Logano’s first offense.
My guess is NASCAR will put them both on probation and fine Busch for throwing the punch.
I know this for sure: Bill France Jr. brought the heat down on Earnhardt and Bodine hard enough that they eventually behaved.
And I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe it with every fiber of my being: If France were alive today, his first call after meeting with Busch, Logano, Gibbs and Penske, would be to Phoenix Raceway to make damn sure next weekend’s race is a sellout.