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Interstate’s affiliation will undoubtedly bring attention to the company the last two weeks as Busch is one of the most recognized drivers in NASCAR and brings his sponsors a ton of exposure. According to Joyce Julius and Associates, Busch ranked first among all Sprint Cup drivers in mentions (4,991) and interview time (1 hour, 1 minute) through the first 32 races of the season. He ranked third in number of interviews (49).

With 104 victories in the top three series, Busch is one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR and opened the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship tied with Kevin Harvick as the top seed. But he stumbled through the first few races, never challenged for the title, and his suspension last weekend dropped him from seventh to 11th in points.

“That’s a huge deal,” Gibbs said. “I know Kyle and all of us were excited about getting back in the top five and this will probably take that away from us and we understand that.”

At last year’s season-ending awards banquet, the monetary difference between the seventh and 11th-place driver was $393,982.

And, Gibbs promised additional penalties would be levied against Busch.

“We also have other actions that are going to be in place,” Gibbs said. “There will be other financial penalties and stuff that we’re working through and we’ll continue to do that as we go forward through this process.”

Busch’s participation in the Nationwide and Trucks Series also could be in jeopardy. He’s been swapped for teammate Denny Hamlin in next week’s Nationwide finale, and his participation in the Truck race has not been announced. He drives a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Harvick said Friday he understood the seat has been offered to Hornaday for next season.

Hornaday said he has talked to Busch about the ride.

Busch, clearly relieved to be back at the track, acknowledged he’s got a lot of work to do going forward.

“I’m sure I lost respect with my team, my sponsors, my peers, and I understand those consequences,” he said. “I understand my actions were uncalled for and disrespectful. I’m here to make sure I can continue in a positive manner and make sure everyone believes in me from this week forward.

“I want to be with Joe Gibbs Racing, I want to be in NASCAR, I want to be driving the M&M’s Toyota. For all of that to work out and to work together, certainly it’s going to be through a lot of my efforts and my efforts behaviorally.”