Watch: Back in 2011, Kyle Busch Intentionally Wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr Under Caution in Texas

Published 12/11/2023, 7:12 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Kyle Busch seems to have become more level-headed over the years. However, being level-headed is not how he earned himself the nickname Rowdy. Busch was always one of the villains during his younger days as he was booed relentlessly for his actions. One of his antics, for which he received a lot of flak, took place in 2011 when he intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr in a Truck Series playoff race.

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Ron Hornaday Jr is a 4-time Truck Series champion and a NASCAR Hall of Famer. His tally could have been 5 had it not been for Busch in 2011. At the time, the 65-year-old drove for Kevin Harvick Incorporated, and Harvick expressed his displeasure by saying, “Kyle Busch is going to get his a** whipped shortly.”

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It all went down in the penultimate race of the 2011 NASCAR Truck Series season in Texas. Ron Hornaday Jr had a chance to go into the final race in Homestead-Miami with a shot at winning the championship. He began racing hard right from the get-go. On lap 14, Hornaday found himself racing Kyle Busch and sort of pushed him up the track in a three-wide situation.

The battle was for P2 early on in the race and both cars made contact with the wall. Caution fell as a result and Hornaday had to find a way to somehow get to pit road and get his #33 truck repaired. However, Rowdy decided that he had enough. The #18 truck drove right up to the back of Hornaday and intentionally spun him into the wall in what looked like a heavy accident.

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The incident drew heavy criticism almost instantly, even from the commentators calling the event live. “Kyle Busch should be parked for this race and maybe the rest of the season for that,” one of the callers said. Ron Hornaday Jr, on the back of 4 wins, was a title contender in the Truck Series that year and that one incident completely ruined his chances. Busch, on the other hand, was not even competing full-time and had already won five races that season.

Rowdy was his usual unapologetic self after the incident but all that air of arrogance did nothing to convince anyone as he tried to justify his actions. As transcribed by Dustin Long, Busch said, “When he races up on my inside and gets loose and takes me up to the fence, I ended up losing my cool. I’ve been wrecked four weeks in a row and finally, I just had enough of it. Sorry it was Ron Hornaday and he’s going after a championship, but the fact of the matter is, you can’t place all blame on one person.” (reported in al.com)

Ron Hornaday Jr and Kevin Harvick were quite livid with Busch and understandably so. Moreover, their comments were a lot more brutal than the full-time Cup Series driver’s.

Ron Hornaday and Kevin Harvick did not hold back against Rowdy, who later apologized

After the incident, the #33 truck driver expressed his dissatisfaction with how things had turned and he had some colorful language for Rowdy. “If they don’t park [Busch] on Sunday, I’ll be really upset. That’s just ignorant and stupid. I don’t know what you want to call it. He’s such a candy-a**, he won’t stay around to get a whooping like he’s supposed to get. It’s a shame,” Hornaday said.

Kevin Harvick seemed even more frustrated when he said on the team radio, “Kyle Busch is going to get his a** whipped shortly, I hope. He better sit his a** in his motorhome or I’m going to come find him and he’s going to have to hold my watch because I’m going to whip his a**. He’s the biggest whining little piece of **** I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”

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Kyle Busch was eventually suspended from the weekend’s races both in the Cup and Nationwide Series. Rowdy later apologized to Ron Hornaday Jr and the people associated with him, making it an embarrassing moment for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions. As a racecar driver, the hardest thing to do 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.” Busch had written as per The Salt Lake Tribune. 

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Some may say that incidents like these made Kyle Busch who he was back in the day but others suggest that it never set a good precedent for the sport. What are your views on the matter?

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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