Kyle Busch, who ended Ron Hornaday Jr.'s championship chances when he rammed him into the wall during a caution in Friday night's truck race, was suspended from the remainder of this weekend's races at Texas Motor Speedway.
NASCAR parked the 26-year-old driver for Saturday's Nationwide Series race and today's Sprint Cup race.
NASCAR president Mike Helton said more penalties are possible and will be considered Monday.
Busch and Hornaday made contact on Lap 14 during Friday night's WinStar World Casino 350k, part of the Camping World Truck Series. Both trucks were damaged, and a caution came out. During the caution, Busch accelerated into the back of Hornaday's truck and sent him into the wall.
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Hornaday, in third place in the championship point standings, couldn't return to the race because of the damage from the hit to the wall. He went from 15 points back to 48 with one race to go.
Helton said Busch's actions crossed the line of the "Have at it, boys" philosophy NASCAR has endorsed in recent seasons, giving drivers leeway to police themselves on the track.
"The responsibility over the past two or three seasons we've given back to the drivers came with a very clear understanding that there could be a line that got crossed," Helton said. "As annoying as the comments that I've made in the past of 'We'll know it when we see it' might have been, we saw it last night."
NASCAR also prevented Busch from returning to the race Friday night, even if the damage to his truck could have been repaired.
Busch told reporters after the incident, "I've been wrecked four weeks in a row and finally I've just had enough of it. Sorry it was Ron Hornaday and he's going after a championship, but the fact of the matter is you can't place all the blame on one person -- there were two people that got into it to begin with and there's two people that ended it."
Busch did not speak to reporters Saturday.
The Nationwide suspension won't cost Busch any driver points since he is not eligible to earn points in the series. But he is seventh in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, and his suspension for that race certainly ends his outside championship hopes in that series.
Joe Gibbs, Busch's car owner in the Nationwide and Cup series, said Michael McDowell will drive the No. 18 Toyota in today's AAA Texas 500. Gibbs said he respects NASCAR's decision and takes responsibility for any driver in his cars.
"It definitely rests with me," Gibbs said. "When you own something and you're the owner, it's your responsibility. That question is kind of easy for me to answer. I take full responsibility for it....
"What we're trying to do now is deal with it the right way. We're trying to meet with everybody who was affected by this. We've got a lot of work to do there, a lot of people to see."
Kevin Harvick, who won the Truck Series race and owns the truck that Hornaday was driving, has a history of conflict with Busch and NASCAR himself.
He and Busch had a run-in at Darlington this year and one at Homestead last year, and Harvick was parked by NASCAR in 2002 after driving his truck right up to the NASCAR hauler when he was summoned to a meeting with officials.
Harvick told Bob Pockrass of SceneDaily.com that he won't retaliate against Busch.
"NASCAR has taken care of it," he said. "I'm glad I was in my truck, and I had good people around me to make me understand that this situation was going to get handled and didn't make it worse than it already was."
"I wish my truck was still racing for the championship and still not totaled. As a team owner, I'm still [ticked] about it."
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407