IN THE PITS: Busch punished, now time to ease up

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In the first test of “Boys, have at it,” Carl Edwards came out of the garage and returned to the track for the sole purpose of retaliating against Brad Keselowski. The intentional wrecking spiraled out of control, as the contact from Edwards sent Keselowski’s car sailing through the air and into the fence.

Edwards wasn’t parked for his action, wasn’t fined or placed on probation through the end of the year. Instead, his penalty was probation for three races.

Unlike Busch, who admitted after Friday’s accident “I lost my cool, no doubt about it,” Edwards’ action was premeditated. But in both instances, the accident was far worse than what either driver had intended to cause.

But Hornaday was in a championship race and Busch ruined his chances _ a factor many argued NASCAR had to consider. Well, where was the outcry last year when David Reutimann intentionally wrecked Busch to effectively end his title chances?

So NASCAR, tired of so many missteps by Busch, took a stand and gave him the harshest punishment in the book. Maybe it was long overdue, but it sent a strong message that likely has Busch fearing the affect it will have on his future in NASCAR. He could lose his job. He could be ordered to stop racing in the Nationwide and Truck Series _ an edict that would cripple Kyle Busch Motorsports _ or he could face further sanctions from JGR and his sponsors.

There’s no doubt he made a mistake, and maybe it’s the one that will change his behavior conclusively. But it’s been addressed, severely and swiftly, and Busch should now be allowed to begin repairing his reputation.

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