Kyle Busch is a decorated NASCAR champion, and any time he speaks about the state of the sport, it’s bound to grab headlines.
“We have completely lost any sense of respect in the garage between the drivers at all,” Busch told reporters Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, per NBC Sports’ Dustin Long. “That’s where the problem lies. Nobody gives two (expletive) about anybody else.
“It’s just a problem where everybody takes advantage of everybody as much as they can. We’re all selfish, granted. But there was an etiquette that once did live here.
“Mark (Martin) started it. Tony (Stewart) lived by it. I think Jeff (Gordon) lived by it. Bobby Labonte, Rusty (Wallace) for the most part, Dale Jarrett, for sure. It did exist. That’s gone.”
Busch added: “I’ve tried to talk to guys. They don’t listen, so I’ve lost interest in talking to them. I had a teammate that I talked to, a kid that raced for me two years in the Truck Series real recently who I got into it last week with and tried to talk to him about those exact same issues. Lo and behold, it happened to me three races into a new year somewhere else, so I’m done talking to them.”
Chandler Smith was the driver Busch referenced, The two made contact on the last lap at Phoenix while racing for third in the Xfinity Series race. Smith called the contact a “racing incident” after the race, per Long.
The topic of driver etiquette came up at Atlanta after Denny Hamlin bumped Ross Chastain on the final lap at Phoenix Raceway on March 12.
NASCAR penalized Hamlin 25 points and $50,000 only after Hamlin admitted on his podcast he did hit Chastain intentionally after past issues with the Trackhouse Racing Team driver, per Long.
?If you make a mistake, OK fine, I get it,” Busch said of the situation. “When you intentionally drive over somebody because they made a move on you or something you didn’t like, then you get punched in the face afterward.”
This NASCAR season has been an eventful one heading into April. Kyle Larson and multiple Hendrick Motorsports drivers were penalized and taken out of the top 20 in the standings. Chase Elliott suffered an off-track injury, and Busch has made an early impact in his first season with Richard Childress Racing.
It looks like things might heat up following the latter’s high-profile comments.