Busch, Harvick fined $25,000

Drivers also placed on probation for pit road altercation

May 11, 2011

As expected, NASCAR officials weren't as amused as some spectators at the shenanigans involving Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick at Darlington Raceway.

Each driver has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four Sprint Cup Series championship points events through June 15. They were cited for "actions detrimental to stock car racing" — specifically their altercation on pit road after the race.

"These penalties are about maintaining a safe environment on pit road," NASCAR communications director Kerry Tharp said.

The boys will have to be on good behavior right away: They are both entered in Friday night's Camping World Truck Series event, the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover.

Too old to drive? James Hylton became a historical footnote last weekend when, at 76, he was the oldest driver to make the field in one of NASCAR's top-three series. Hylton qualified for the Nationwide event at Darlington but did little beyond that. His day was over after two laps because of a rear-end problem in his car. Hylton passed himself on the list because he established the previous record three years ago in the Nationwide event at Daytona.

Hylton, competing for JD Motorsports, started in the 43rd position after afternoon rain washed out qualifying. He got a free pass, in essence, because there were only 41 entries for the event and didn't have to qualify based on speed to fill out the 43-car field.

Kudos to Hylton, but his presence at Darlington does beg a question: Without resorting to "he drove with his left blinkers on" joke, I have to wonder if NASCAR should set an age limit for drivers competing in its top series? Yes, it's age discrimination, but in a sport in which extraordinary reflexes are a prerequisite, you have to consider how anyone who is 76 could measure up to drivers half his age.

If anyone doesn't think this might be an issue, try driving a car close to 119 mph with a bunch of cars going the same speed just inches from you. That was the average speed at Darlington, by the way.

You also have to look at the equipment. Obviously Hylton isn't going to be signed by Hendrick Motorsports or any other top team, so he likely will be driving a car inferior to his competition.

Pit stops: Can't get enough of the inside story behind the Daytona International Speedway repaving project? This is must-see TV for you: SPEED's original series, Speedmakers, will document the process during its show Thursday night. The project covered more than 1.4-million feet of surface area and required 50,000 tons of asphalt, including the complete resurfacing and widening of pit road. … Break out the pom-poms — Sunday is "Jimmie Johnson Day" in Delaware. The 146th Delaware General Assembly, in a joint resolution from the House and Senate, declared a day to honor Johnson because of his great success at Dover International Speedway, coupled with Johnson's charitable efforts. Johnson will be looking for his second consecutive victory at Dover and his seventh overall at the track.

George Diaz

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