Kyle Busch laments the lack of respect among NASCAR drivers

HAMPTON, Georgia – Two-time cup winner Kyle Bush laments the lack of respect between drivers in NASCAR and says he’s tried talking to competitors but it hasn’t helped.

“We no longer have any respect between the drivers in the pits,” Busch said on Saturday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. “There lies the problem. No one gives two (swear words) over someone else.

“It’s just a problem where everyone takes advantage of everyone as much as possible. We’re all selfish, admittedly. But there was an etiquette that once lived here.

“Mark (Martin) started it. Tony (Stewart) made a living from it. I think Jeff (Gordon) made a living from it. Bobby Labonte, Rusty (Wallace) for the most part, Dale Jarrett for sure. It existed. That’s gone.”

The issue of driver respect was an issue Saturday in Atlanta Denny Hamlin destruction Ross Chastain on the final lap last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR punished Hamlin 25 points and only $50,000 after Hamlin admitted on his podcast that he intentionally punched Chastain after previous problems with Chastain.

Busch referenced Hamlin and Chastain when asked Saturday if he understood the difference between racing hard and knocking someone out.

“No,” Busch said, “because the last year at Gateway was a pretty good representation of cat and mouse and nothing got done. What do we do in such situations?”

Chastain’s contact destroyed Hamlin at Gateway last June. About 15 laps later, Hamlin drove Chastain up the backstretch to the apron before Chastain overtook. Hamlin later handicapped Chastain again. It got to the point that NASCAR ordered the team to tell Hamlin he had his point.

When asked what he would like to see in such situations, Bush said, “Drivers need to act ethically and take responsibility for their actions and race and race.

“If you make a mistake, okay, I get it. If you intentionally hit someone for hitting on you or for something you didn’t like, you’ll get a slap in the face afterwards.”

Busch also expressed his displeasure on Saturday ChandlerSmithnoticed their contact on the last lap in Phoenix when he was vying for third place in the Xfinity Series race. Smith called the contact a “racing incident” after the race.

“I tried talking to guys,” Busch said. “They don’t listen, so I’ve lost interest in talking to them. I had a teammate that I spoke to, a kid who recently drove for me in the Truck Series for two years, that I engaged with last week and tried to talk to about the exact same issues. Lo and behold it happened to me three races in a new year elsewhere so I’m done with it.”

Busch said two conversations with Tony Stewart early in his career proved effective.

“I think the biggest impact for me was that he took the time and did that, but also gave him the respect and understanding that he’s been around a long time and raced against a lot of these really great riders and was a two-time champion at the time,” Busch said. “So I showed him that respect and we’ve rarely had any problems since. I think that says it.”

Busch said one solution to the track problems would be to do in NASCAR what happens at some small tracks.

Involved in an incident, the driver is sent to the rear of the pack. That happens in the races that Busch’s son Brexton does.

“He already knows that he can’t run over anyone because he’s employed at the back,” Busch said of his son. “I think that’s different, there are no consequences when you run over someone. If you want to do that, you’re sent to the back, you’re held on a lap, something. But if you kick someone out – and it’s my fault, I’ve kicked someone out for the lead or win or something in crash races before – but when it happens you get sent backwards.

“Attention come out, you go to the back. Now there are consequences for that. That’s the short track adage and how these kids learn as they grow up. Maybe we have to implement that here.”

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