The Kyle Busch apology tour hit Phoenix Friday, but the repercussions for his actions are still coming.
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Appearing alongside team owner Joe Gibbs, Busch took the blame again for his actions in last week’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway which led to him being parked for a Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series race — and led to his sponsor, M&M’s, dumping him for the final two Sprint Cup races this year.
“I understand my actions last weekend were uncalled for, were disrespectful,” Busch said. “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.
“There’s no one to blame but myself. I’m here today to basically say that I apologize to everyone involved in this ordeal.”
These are the first public comments by Busch and Gibbs since rampant speculation took place this week that Gibbs could lose sponsors because of the incident and its backlash. It was also thought that Busch could possibly lose his ride for the final two races of the year or longer.
Along with being placed on probation until the end of 2011 and receiving a $50,000 fine from NASCAR earlier this week, Gibbs announced Busch would face further financial penalties — which were described as “substantial” by the team owner — that are getting worked through now.
Despite the rumors, firing Busch was not considered, according to Gibbs.
With Mars, Inc., the parent company of M&M’s, opting off Busch’s ride, longtime Joe Gibbs Racing sponsor Interstate Batteries will appear on the No. 18 Toyota for the final two Cup races of 2011. M&M’s will return in 2012.
“We have great partners. In particular, we want to mention that Mars, one of the premier companies in America, they’ve been 19 years in racing and great supporters of racing. They’ve been great partners for us,” Gibbs said. “We support (Mars’) decision.”