- Associated Press - Sunday, November 6, 2011

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) - Kyle Busch watched his No. 18 car going around the track in Texas from the team’s pit box Sunday.

Unable to gain any points by watching, Busch was officially eliminated from championship contention. Already a long shot before then, he’s now 100 points back and down to 11th place with two races left

Busch remained at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend despite NASCAR taking the rare step of parking him for the Cup and Nationwide races after deliberating wrecking championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Truck Series race on the same track Friday night. Michael McDowell drove the M&M Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs Racing.

Busch issued an apology Saturday night and said he understood why he was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. He wrote that the hardest thing to do as a driver “is to sit on the sidelines listening to cars on the track when you know you should be out there competing. For this, I have no one to blame but myself.”

Gibbs said Busch came to him and asked if he could sit on the pit box and be with the team during the race.

There was no additional comment from Busch on Sunday before he climbed up on the pit box and put a headset on for the race. He sat by crew chief Dave Rogers while McDowell ran mostly back in the pack and finished 33rd, three laps down.

Under NASCAR rules, Busch couldn’t appeal the decision to park him for the weekend.

NASCAR president Mike Helton and Joe Gibbs haven’t ruled out the possibility of more penalties for Busch after the weekend.

M&M’s, the primary sponsor of the No. 18 Cup car, issued a statement on its Facebook page Sunday expressing its disappointment in Busch, who is the owner of his truck that also has the candy as a sponsor.

“The recent actions by Kyle Busch are not consistent with the values of M&M’S and we’re very disappointed,” the statement read. “Like you, we hold those who represent our brand to a higher standard and we have expressed our concerns directly to Joe Gibbs Racing.”


OUT OF THE CHASE: While the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is really down to a two-driver battle between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart with two races left, only three drivers have been mathematically eliminated from contention.

The first eliminations came after Sunday’s race at Texas.

Denny Hamlin moved up from 11th to 10th place in the standings, but his 99-point deficit behind Edwards can’t be overcome in two races. Same for Kyle Busch (100 points back) and the driver of Stewart’s other car, Ryan Newman (103).


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