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“It’s a serious issue, that’s an important statement for us, this is serious,” Gibbs said, declining to say if Busch will be punished but acknowledging the driver won’t be suspended.

Because NASCAR does not require competitors to have a valid driver’s license, the sanctioning body said it would not be disciplining Busch. According to information from the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, a conviction could cost Busch his driver’s license for 60 days.

There was mixed reaction in the garage area Thursday about Busch’s infraction.

“I’ve probably been guilty of the same thing myself, just didn’t get caught,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who then backed off ever driving 128 mph on a public road.

“I don’t really know if I got that fast. I didn’t know we had enough straight road in North Carolina to get going that quick. Apparently there’s a piece somewhere.”

Five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson was also sympathetic to Busch. While not condoning the speed, Johnson said high performance vehicles are built for drivers who “stand on the gas.”

“We as drivers aren’t necessarily wired the same,” he said. “It’s tempting, especially when we have the skill sets that we do as drivers and you get a high performance car and you just want to see how it stacks up. I guess everybody that has a high performance car stands on the throttle at some point.

“I’m not trying to justify what he did, but we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we’ve wondered what it felt like to stand on the gas pedal.”

But Kevin Harvick, who has been openly feuding with Busch of late, was not as forgiving.

“I think some people are their own worst enemy when it comes to being responsible as a person or as a businessperson or anything that comes with life’s responsibilities,” said Harvick, who added he tends to go under the speed limit and hasn’t driven irresponsibly in a street car since he was 16.

Gibbs seemed dismayed that all the progress Busch has made off the track has been overshadowed by the speeding ticket. Busch, winner of two races this season, is ranked third in the Sprint Cup standings heading into Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 in what’s yet another strong season for the 26-year-old.

But much of the spotlight has been in the maturity he’s shown this year in dealing with adversity. That hadn’t changed Thursday, as Busch answered all the questions asked of him, but he stayed on message with buzz words such as “apologize,” “lack of judgment,” and “learning experience.”

“The way he’s handled things for that last year, I kind of felt like he’s really made a great effort,” Gibbs said. “Having said that, I’m hoping that somehow out of this, something positive will come out of it. In other words, it may be there are different organizations that reach out to young people driving, reckless driving.

“For me and for all of us at Joe Gibbs, Racing, I’m hoping there’s something that maybe I can do going forward to make it, hopefully, something positive.”

Hamlin believed Busch’s past transgressions have fueled the attention on the speeding ticket.

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