From Kyle Larson to Kyle Busch: Drivers Involved in Biggest Controversies of the 2020 NASCAR Season

Published 12/28/2020, 12:37 PM EST
MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 01: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, and Cole Custer, driver of the #41 HaasTooling.com Ford, race during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)


Racecraft and entertainment are not restrained in the sport of NASCAR. But equally, there are controversies and incidents that take place time and again across the three divisions.

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The 2020 season also consisted of a few of these on and off the track. Here we take a look at the top 5 controversies that took place in NASCAR this year –

1) Bubba Wallace’s noose controversy

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TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – JUNE 22: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, speaks to the media after the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The former Richard Petty Motorsports No.43 was at the center of an incident involving a noose tied at his garage stall in the Talladega Superspeedway. On June 21, prior to the Geico 500 race, all drivers and crews pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the pit road to show their solidarity.

2) Kyle Larson’s suspension from Chip Ganassi and NASCAR

The former Chip Ganassi Racing driver had gotten suspended from NASCAR earlier in the year. Following the usage of a racial slur, Larson also had to attend sensitivity training.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – OCTOBER 18: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Credit One Bank Chevrolet, climbs into his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

The sporting organization however revoked his suspension just a few months back. He now joins up with Hendrick Motorsports as their No.5 for the 2021 Cup Series campaign.

3) Kyle Busch – Joey Logano argument

After the conclusion of the race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Busch talked about how Logano was ‘nobody’s friend’. It triggered a strong retaliation from Logano himself, with ‘zero friends on the race track’ becoming his stance.

SPARTA, KY – JULY 07: Kyle Busch (L), driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, talks with Joey Logano (R), driver of the #20 The Home Depot Toyota, in the garage during testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The rivalry between the pair dates back to 2017 when Busch attempted to punch Logano after his antics in the race at Las Vegas. And it looks like the heat between them will continue based on their latest argument.

4) Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin team orders incident at Martinsville

With two spots remaining in the Championship 4 and three drivers vying for the spot, Joe Gibbs Racing communicated their team orders to Erik Jones. Considering Hamlin needed a good finish to go through, the team told Jones not to pass the former in the race.

BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR later undertook an investigation to check the incident. But at the end of it, no penalties or sanctions got imposed, and Hamlin got the opportunity to participate in the title decider.

5) Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton trade blows

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Following the Xfinity Series race at Kentucky, both drivers started having a heated discussion. But that almost instantly turned into a fight, before on-track officials intervened to separate the pair.

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Earlier in the race, Gragson had clipped the rear of Burton’s car, with both of them suffering damage on their vehicles. Although both drivers got through to finish the event, they did not enter the Top 5 classification in the race.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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