There will be some people out there who think Kyle Busch is some kind of romantic rebel.
Sort of like those good ol’ boys from the early days of NASCAR, like Junior Johnson hauling moonshine in souped-up street cars and outrunning revenuers on the back roads of Wilkes County.
Well, this is not the 1950s.
And Kyle Busch is not some hero.
Busch was stopped Tuesday runniing 128 mph in a 45-mph zone.
A sheriff’s deputy stopped him on Tuesday around 2 p.m. on Perth Road south of Troutman, in Iredell County.
Busch, whose wife was riding with him, was driving a yellow Lexus LFA exotic sports car.
A Lexus LFA can reach a top speed of 203 mph. Its 10-cyclinder engine can push it from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds; from 0 to 100 in 7.6. seconds.
If you’re thinking about buying one, it’ll set you back anywhere from $350,000 to $400,000. Busch reportedly told the officer he thought of the Lexus as “just a toy.”
Let’s talk a bit about Kyle’s playground.
He was pulled over near a subdivision near Lake Norman. Close by are several residential areas, a church and a day-care center.
One report, from the Greensboro News & Record, describes the road Busch was traveling as winding and dipping through the countryside. It’s often used by bicyclists and farm tractors. Not far ahead from where Busch was stopped is a sign warning of a school bus stop, and another warning of curves up ahead. Much of the road is marked with the double yellow lines that denote a no-passing zone.
“There’s a lot of traffic, especially concerning kids,” said one woman quoted in the Charlotte Observer. “There’s mothers going to pick up their kids at school, school buses dropping off.”
Busch, who lives in Iredell County, was charged with speeding and driving recklessly. He is scheduled to appear in court July 20.
Legally, Busch should get the maximum penalty possible. But the North Carolina justice system does not take speeding seriously enough. His punishment may be as minor as probation, losing his license for a year, and paying a $1,000 fine.
Professionally, Busch deserves to be sanctioned. He drives the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. At this point he’s scheduled be driving it Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gibbs said Thursday of Busch’s speeding that “It’s a serious issue,” and he is considering disciplinary action. He said that one option is having Busch speak with youth groups about speeding and reckless driving. That sound more like an opportunity than a sanction. A suspension from racing is more in order.
Speeding is cited as a major factor is nearly one-third of motor vehicle accidents. Given the terrible toll of injuries and fatalities, this atrocious example set by a celebrity sportscar driver is intolerable.
NASCAR still flaunts that rowdy persona, that rough streak of outlaw reputation from its old days. Fans love that stuff – spectacular crashes, fistfights on pit row, “tradin’ paint.”
But all the drivers – and Kyle Busch in particular – need to leave it at the track.