CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - Kyle Busch apologized repeatedly Thursday for showing a “lack of judgment” in driving 128 mph in a 45 mph zone in a borrowed Lexus.
Busch was cited for careless and reckless driving, and speeding following a Tuesday stop. He was driving a nearly $400,000 bright yellow Lexus.
In his scheduled media session at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Busch apologized several times for the joyride and said he would not make the mistake again.
“I’m certainly sorry that it happened,” he said. “All I can do is apologize to the public, my friends, my fans and my sponsors. I’ll look at this experience as a learning experience and move forward.”
The citation shows that Busch allegedly told the officer who stopped him the Lexus was “just a toy,” but seemed to realize the flippancy of that remark Thursday.
“It wasn’t a toy, it’s a high performance vehicle,” Busch said. “It should be driven with caution. Obviously I didn’t have caution and I had a lack of judgment.
“There’s probably reason why on the TV commercials that they always show at the bottom, ‘Professional driver, closed course.’ Mine was not that. Again, I apologize sincerely. All I can do is make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Lexus parent company Toyota sponsors the Joe Gibbs Racing team that Busch drives for, and the 2012 Lexus LFA was loaned to both Busch and Denny Hamlin this week. Hamlin tweeted a picture of the car the day before Busch was ticketed with the post, “If u see me today in ur rear view driving this Please move!!”
“That car is absolutely amazing. The best driving machine I’ve ever been in,” said Hamlin, who hopes to have the one he ordered by March. “Obviously it’s hard to keep the speed out of it.”
So how fast did Hamlin go?
“Most I went is about 10 over,” he smiled. “The transmission shifted well, I can tell you that. I got up to speed fast.”
The LFA is hand-built in Japan, and only 87 of the 500 scheduled vehicles have been built.
Of the 87 completed, only 20 are in the United States and all are privately owned. Lexus has two cars available as demos, and Busch was driving one of them. The cars are usually made available to potential buyers at test tracks on weekends, but that did not accommodate Busch and Hamlin’s schedules so one was made available to them, said Lexus spokesperson Nancy Hubbell.
“He returned the car, nobody got hurt and for that we’re grateful,” Hubbell said. “We know that he is definitely remorseful. He’s owned up to it, and we appreciate that. I think people recognize that this was an issue that the car didn’t go fast all by itself, and the driver was testing its capabilities.”
NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs found no amusement in Busch’s adventure.