Kyle Busch not interested in answering whether he purposely drew the caution flag
By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR reporter
LAS VEGAS – Sometimes, Kyle Busch doesn’t say much when he’s mad.
But his short replies on Friday night to a couple of questions were more about self-preservation than being surly.
Busch, competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, had a tire going flat during the event. While he avoided spinning out while going full speed, he spun while on the apron before coming to pit road. He didn’t hit anything.
Considering Busch’s talent, it appeared he possibly brought out the caution to keep from going more than a lap down. Here is what he said (well, didn’t say) in the postrace Zoom news conference that he was required to do for finishing second:
Drivers bringing out the caution to help themselves is nothing new and the debate on whether NASCAR needs to act has raged for years. NASCAR has forced drivers to sit in their pit stall for a couple of laps or more if they believe a driver has intentionally brought out the caution. That typically occurs when the driver stops on the track and then magically is able to restart and get back up to speed when the caution comes out.
When a driver spins, it’s a little more difficult to tell so NASCAR gives the driver the benefit of the doubt.
It’s still, though, a sensitive topic, not just from a pure competition ethics standpoint but especially in an era where the amount of money spent on gambling on the sport is expected to increase. When Bubba Wallace admitted in November 2019 five days after the Texas race that he spun on purpose, NASCAR – which took no action during the race – fined him $50,000 and docked him 50 points.
Busch, speaking earlier that day of Wallace’s admission, said everyone has spun out on purpose.
"The reason why we’re still talking about it is that there is nothing being done about it because you all want to see something done about it and some of us drivers don’t really care," Busch said then.
When asked what the answer is and whether this is a situation where NASCAR shouldn’t step in, Busch said:
"When people have flat tires and they are spinning out and drawing cautions, you can’t penalize one and then not everybody else. So they better be careful."
Drivers certainly are sensitive on the topic. Chase Briscoe knew that it appeared he spun to bring out the caution in the championship race last November and delivered an emotional response to anyone who thought he did it on purpose.
With all that context, Busch not answering the question on Friday night makes a little more sense. He is on record indicating it is more or less part of the sport.
By saying nothing, Busch theoretically leaves it open to interpretation and doesn’t say anything that can get him fined or penalized. He also doesn’t lie – which is a good thing – or give some so-out-there explanation that insults the fans’ intelligence.
Anyone who knows Busch knows that if he sees others benefit from a maneuver, he will, too.
And why wouldn’t he? Don’t hate the player, hate the game. And at least in this race, the best driver-truck combination – John Hunter Nemechek, who drives full time in the series for Busch – won the race.
Bob Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass.