Did Kyle Busch use the 'r word' at Martinsville and has he apologised?

Jake Nichol November 1, 2021
Did Kyle Busch use the ‘r word’ at Martinsville and has he apologised?
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Kyle Busch was knocked out of the NASCAR Playoffs at Martinsville but in his post-race interview used the r-word. Has he apologised for it, and will NASCAR punish him?

Kyle Busch out of Playoffs at Martinsville

Going into the semi-final Playoff eliminator, Busch was right on the bubble.

His #18 Joe Gibbs Camry held the final transfer spot by a single point over Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney.

While Blaney fell away after a difficult day at Martinsville, the final place in the Championship 4 boiled down to Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr.

NASCAR 21: Ignition | Trailer

NASCAR 21: Ignition | Trailer

Truex Jr was carrying damage after contact and was fighting at the lower reaches of the top ten.

Busch and Keselowski were near the front when the race was sent to overtime by Alex Bowman tapping Denny Hamlin.

Busch and Keselowski both knew a win was the only thing that would secure passage to Phoenix.

However, Bowman aced the overtime restart, taking his fourth win of the season.

On the final corner of the 501-lap race, Keselowski got inside Busch and tried to muscle past.

Both were eliminated from the Playoffs – Busch by just three points as Truex sneaked in from his teammate.

However, it was in his post-race interview that Busch used the r-word to refer to Keselowski.

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kyle Busch uses r-word at Martinsville

Speaking after missing the Championship 4 for the second successive season, Busch wasn’t happy with Keselowski’s move.

“He drills my a** out of turn four for no reason,” he said.

“Where was he going, what was he going to do?

“Spin me out, trying to do a Harvick, that’s what he was trying to do,” (referring to when Kevin Harvick spun Busch in this race in 2020 on the final corner).

“For what? For second place? To do what? He wasn’t going to transfer through with that.

“It’s freaking retarded man, so stupid. I don’t understand it man.

“I should beat the s*** out of him right now, that’s what I should do.”

“But that doesn’t do me any good either.”

Busch was swift to issue an apology on social media for his use of the word “retarded”.

He tweeted it was a word “I should never use, and I want to apologise for it”.

Will NASCAR punish Busch?

NASCAR announced Busch’s penalty using the r-word at Martinsville, following a precedent from this season.

In January, NASCAR Trucks driver Hailee Deegan used the r-word in an iRacing stream on Twitch.

NASCAR required Deegan to undergo sensitivity training for using the r-word.

NASCAR has confirmed that Busch, a two-time Cup champion, have to complete the same programme, before the start of the 2022 season.

Are there any other examples?

In the recent past, a Formula One driver has also used the r-word.

At the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen used it to describe Lance Stroll after an incident in practice.

He also described Stroll as a “mongol”, a derogatory term for someone with Down’s syndrome.

Verstappen said it “was not my problem” if people were offended by his comments, as Red Bull team boss Christian Horner tried to downplay the words.

However, next time out at Imola, Verstappen did apologise for his use of language.

Photo by Joe Portlock/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.