Two crashes involving 11 cars tarnished Friday night's Budweiser Shootout practice highlighted by Kurt Busch, who once again showed his displeasure with Tony Stewart by using his car to voice his frustration afterward...What a dink...LOL
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch, who each spent more than half of last season on NASCAR probation, kicked the new season off in the same potential vein Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.
"This is the NASCAR everybody fell in love with," NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter said to a gang of more than two-dozen media members behind the NASCAR office trailer. "Emotions run high. As far as penalties, we'll wait and see."
Hunter's comment was only half in jest, based on a recent comment by NASCAR chairman Brian France that the sanctioning body was going to try to return to its roots this season -- or at least not promote any more drastic changes.
Hunter said the boundaries for showing their emotions were still being drawn -- though actions such as Busch's in recent years have drawn fairly stiff penalties.
"It's going to be difficult, as a matter of fact -- and we said that," Hunter said. "Professional race drivers need to control their emotions when they're in the racecar; and I think we've shown in the past that we'll do whatever we need to do to make sure they do.
"There's a lot of emotion in driving a racecar, and I think this was an example of that. Both drivers were emotional. After tomorrow's meeting, we'll see where we are."
Crack of dawn meetings aren't Stewart's favorite, but for the second time in 10 months the former two-time Cup champion has been summoned to one with NASCAR's top officials -- along with Busch -- after the two drivers were involved in some on-track fender banging on the season's opening day, in the second practice for Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout.
A short time after the track re-opened following an eight-car accident in the practice's opening moments, Stewart's No. 20 Gibbs Racing Toyota and Busch's No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge made contact at the end of the backstretch. Busch then hit the outside wall, which brought out a caution flag as Stewart's car slid to the track's apron.
As the cars returned to pit road, Busch caught up to Stewart and drove his car into the right side of Stewart's machine three times. The two men then maneuvered their cars to impede each other's access to the exit lane off pit road, before they drove to their garage stalls.
Stewart and Busch were immediately summoned to a meeting with NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton and Sprint Cup Series director John Darby, Hunter said.
Hunter, who said NASCAR had reviewed videotape of the incident, declined to give many details of the meeting, saying "what was said in there; stays in there," but said the mood was "civil."