Nancy Knapp Schilke
Z-Line has taken a stand to park Busch for NNS season finale
The first hint of Kyle Busch sitting out the NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway came to light on Tuesday, November 8th when the sponsor of the No. 18 car made a request to Joe Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs, owners of Joe Gibbs Racing.
The statement from Z-Line Designs read: "We were disappointed in Kyle Busch's actions during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. As a sponsor, it is important that those who represent our company abide by certain standards of conduct. We have expressed our concerns directly to Kyle and to Joe Gibbs Racing. We support NASCAR’s decision and support Joe Gibbs Racing as they address this issue internally."
For this weekend’s Nationwide race, Joey Logano was already listed as the driver for the No. 18 GameStop Toyota due to the rotation between the Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers set earlier this year.
Z-Line has requested Denny Hamlin take over the seat of the No. 18 at Homestead. No word yet on if JGR will replace Busch at the season finale as his future is still being discussed. Sponsors are vital to the team and the drivers and it is not a surprise that the team’s main NNS sponsor has made the request.
NASCAR parked Busch after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Texas. Busch took out Ron Hornaday on purpose during a caution period. Not only did it damage Hornaday’s Chevrolet and Busch’s Toyota, it also took the former two-time Truck series champion out of having any chance of earning his third crown.
When Busch was forced to sit out the Nationwide and the Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. Jim Sexton, owner of Z-Line Designs had a chat with Hamlin prior to the start of Saturday’s NNS race. Now it appears his choice of driver for the race in Homestead, Florida is Hamlin but that has not been confirmed.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Busch might be out of his ride in the Cup series as well. There is a chance that Aric Almirola will take over the driving duties in the JGR No. 18 Toyota with M&M has the primary sponsor.
NASCAR has cleared Busch to finish out the year after handing him a $50,000 fine and he was, of course, placed on probation. Joe Gibbs Racing has not officially made a statement but at the same time, the team has not sent out the usual press release before this weekend’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.