NASCAR Punishes Kyle Busch ... For R-Word Use

NASCAR is requiring Kyle Busch to undergo sensitivity training ... after he used the R-word in a post-race interview over the weekend.

Officials announced the punishment Monday night ... saying Busch will have to complete the training "before the start of the 2022 season."

Busch used the offensive term after the NASCAR Cup playoff race at Martinsville on Sunday ... while he was ranting about fellow driver Brad Keselowski's antics on the track.

"It's frickin' [r-word], man. So stupid," Busch said of Keselowski. "I don't understand these guys. I should beat the s*** out of him right now, is what I should do."

"But, that doesn't do me any good, either."

Busch apologized for the remark hours after the race ... saying in a statement on his social media page, "I used a word I should never use and I want to apologize for it."

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HARSH INSULTS
Twitch

This is the second time in the last year NASCAR officials have punished a driver for using the word ... Hailie Deegan was also ordered to undergo sensitivity training after she used the term during a virtual race in 2021.

Kal Penn on Coming Out Friends More Shocked I Love NASCAR!!!

SO FAR SO GOOD
TMZ.com

Kal Penn says he's sharing his life story -- including the fact he's gay -- to let others know that you can do anything while being true to yourself, like say ... being a gay NASCAR fan.

We got the actor, politico and now author leaving 30 Rock Monday morning in NYC, and asked how his coming out over the weekend is being received in Hollywood and beyond.

Check out this chat we had ... Kal says so far so good, and when our guy asks why he waited 11 years to share his truth -- he cracks a hilarious joke, but then opens up.

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Kal explains his manager suggested he pen his adventures on and off camera -- y'know, seeing how he went from a successful actor, getting tons of work ... to a White House staffer working in the Obama administration. Obviously, he had good material.

On a philosophical level ... KP tells us he's coming out with all this now -- including his relationship with fiance, Josh -- in hopes of inspiring others to dream big, dare to do the impossible and push themselves.

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Kal even dishes on some deets from the book, including the tale of how he came to meet his partner ... which entails an interesting tidbit about the "real revelation" here -- the fact that he's apparently super into NASCAR.

The dude is such a nice guy, proven in the fact that he gives our cameraman the copy of his book he was literally holding. It's called 'You Can't Be Serious,' and it's out Tuesday.

NASCAR's Kyle Busch Apologizes For Using R-Word ... In Post-Race Interview

More trouble for NASCAR -- Kyle Busch is apologizing for using the r-word in a post-race interview on Sunday ... saying he should have never used the derogatory term.

Busch was furious with Brad Keselowski after making contact with the driver at the NASCAR Cup playoff race at Martinsville ... sounding off to reporters following his 2nd-place finish.

"He drills my ass coming out of (turn) 4 for no reason," Busch said after the race.

"I mean, where was he going? What was he gonna do? Spin me out? He was trying to do a (Kevin) Harvick is what he was trying to do. For what? For second place? To do what, he wasn't gonna transfer through with that."

"It’s frickin’ (r-word), man. So stupid." Busch added. "I don't understand these guys. I should beat the s*** out of him right now, is what I should do. But, that doesn't do me any good, either."

Busch took to Twitter to share his regret over using the term ... saying, "In one of my post-race interviews I used a word I should never use and I want to apologize for it."

It's the third time a high-profile driver has used a derogatory slur recently -- remember, Kyle Larson was suspended after using the n-word during a stream ... and Hailie Deegan underwent sensitivity training after using the r-word.

A spokesperson for NASCAR says the org. is reviewing Busch's comments ... which means sensitivity training, a fine or a suspension could be on the horizon.

As for whether he's worried about getting punished ... Busch said, "I've already had to pay enough fines in my lifetime, I'm sure I'll get another one."

Southwest Airlines Pilot 'Let's Go Brandon' Over Intercom ... So Claims AP Reporter

1:55 PM PT -- 10/31 -- Southwest has responded to the story of a pilot saying "Let's go Brandon" ... and it sounds like they're going to handle this internally.

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The airline says they'll deal with the pilot in house, while acknowledging that expressing personal opinions or views while on the job is unacceptable.

A Southwest Airlines pilot allegedly parroted what has become a rallying cry on the far-right -- an insult to President Biden that's been coded as a cheer to somebody named Brandon.

The incident reportedly happened Friday on a Southwest flight from Houston to Albuquerque, where AP journo Colleen Long claims that upon touch-down -- the pilot hopped on the speaker for the plane and said "Let's go Brandon" just as he was signing off.

Long reports that some passengers were noticeably shocked, and even gasped when they heard it. She apparently tried confronting the pilot himself for what he said ... but alleges she was almost tossed the aircraft for doing so.

A Southwest spokesperson told AP that their airline "takes pride in providing a welcoming, comfortable, and respectful environment" and that "behavior from any individual that is divisive or offensive is not condoned." It's unclear if any further action will be taken.

Folks online are furious over the alleged utterance ... demanding Southwest find the pilot and can him for hurling politically motivated rhetoric -- and what some are even calling a slur.

If you're unfamiliar with how this originated, it all started a couple months ago when racecar driver Brandon Brown won a NASCAR event. During his post-race interview with NBC -- you could hear people in the crowd chanting "F*** Joe Biden," which the reporter tried brushing off as "Let's go Brandon" ... even though what they were saying was obvious and clear.

Southwest has yet to comment further, but it's interesting ... this is the same airline that had mass cancelations recently over what many suspected was a coordinated pilot "sickout" in response to vaccine mandates -- despite them (and the pilots' union) denying it publicly.

Cops: NASCAR's John Wes Townley Attacked Ex-Wife With Hatchet ... Before Shooting Death

Former NASCAR driver John Wes Townley attacked his ex-wife and another man with a hatchet just before he was shot to death ... this according to police.

It's all spelled out in new documents, obtained by TMZ Sports, which show cops say Townley showed up to his ex's house in Athens, Ga. on Oct. 2 and allegedly snapped.

In the docs, cops say Townley got to the home and attacked his ex, Laura Townley, and another man, Zachary Anderson, with a hatchet.

Police in the documents say, though, Anderson shot John in the altercation ... striking the former driver and accidentally hitting Laura, as well.

Cops say John was shot through the chest and later died from his injuries at a local hospital. Police added Laura was struck in the abdomen, but is expected to survive.

Cops say an investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

Police noted in the docs John and Laura had recently finalized a divorce.

John had been a pro racecar driver for over a decade ... and famously won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2015.

NASCAR's Bubba Wallace Emotional After Winning Cup Series Race ... 2nd Black Driver To Accomplish Feat

Bubba Wallace had to fight back tears Monday after he won his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series race ... getting emotional thinking about how he's the first Black driver to accomplish the feat since 1963.

The 27-year-old took home the victory after rain forced the YellaWood 500 to end early at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama ... and it didn't take long for Wallace to realize how big the moment was for him.

Wallace went crazy with his team seconds after NASCAR called it -- hugging friends and letting out loud yells of joy.

Eventually, Wallace was interviewed on the scene ... and he nearly cried after he was asked about being the first Black driver to win since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott did it in 1963.

"Yeah, I never think about those things and when you say it like that, it obviously brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy to my family, fans, friends," Wallace said. "It's pretty damn cool. Just proud to be a winner in the Cup Series."

The historical win (which is also Michael Jordan's first win as co-owner of 23XI Racing), comes 16 months after Wallace's team believed they found a noose in their garage at the same racetrack.

Wallace spoke about the significance of that ... saying, "This is to all those kids that want to have an opportunity in whatever they want to achieve and be the best at what they want to do."

"You're going to go through a lot of bulls*** but you always got to stay true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you."

Wallace added, "Stay strong, stay humble, stay hungry. There's been plenty of times where I wanted to give up. And, you surround yourself with the right people and it's moments like this that you appreciate."

Congrats!

Dustin Diamond Getting NASCAR Tribute in Indy ... Wrapped Stock Car & Driver's Racing Suit!!!

Dustin Diamond's presence will be felt over and over and over this weekend ... 'cause a NASCAR sponsor's ready to unveil his special stock car honoring the late actor.

Dan Block, the president of Insurance King, has chosen this Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the race where he'll unveil a tribute to his late friend.

The No. 52 car -- driven by Josh Bilicki -- is paying homage to Dustin and his Screech Powers character from "Saved by the Bell." We're told Block's bringing Dustin's best friend and his girlfriend as special guests.

The car itself will be wrapped Thursday and TMZ's obtained a rendering of what the final product will look like during the 82-lap race. Bilicki's race suit will also have Dustin's full name along with the years of his birth and death.

As we reported ... Dustin died in February after battling stage 4 lung cancer. Just days after he had revealed his diagnosis, Block planned to wrap Bilicki's car as a "get well" pick me up for Dustin. That initial rendering has been altered since Dustin passed.

Block and Dustin were very close friends, and Dustin starred in several Insurance King commercials.

In this spot, Dustin speeds past a cop who pulls him over and asks how he can afford car insurance with so many speeding tickets. He hits him with, "C'mon. I'm saved by the king."

Classic Screech Powers, baby.

NASCAR's Joey Logano Toddler Son Does Burnout For Epic Gender Reveal ... It's A Girl!!!

NASCAR superstar Joey Logano revealed his unborn baby's gender in the most racecar driver way EVER -- by having his toddler son do a burnout in front of his house!!!

The 31-year-old and his wife, Brittany, got super creative with their announcement this month ... strapping some chalk to their 3-year-old's toy car's wheels and then letting him punch the throttle!!

The video is seriously epic ... Joey's kid executed the stunt perfectly -- and everyone lost their mind when pink smoke came from the tires!

The baby is #3 for Logano, and it's his first girl ... and in Joey's footage of the event, you can tell it seems that's what the family wanted.

Logano's son said he preferred a sister -- and the fam's reaction to the pink smoke showed they certainly weren't disappointed at the result either.

The best part of the clip ... in celebration of the announcement, Joey got his kid to then spin donuts in the little toy car!!!

The apple clearly doesn't fall too far from the tree in the Logano household ... so, get ready for 3 more Logano drivers on the NASCAR circuit in about 18 years???

Racing Legend Bobby Unser Dead at 87 3-Time Indy 500 Champ!!!

Bobby Unser -- who won the Indianapolis 500 race THREE TIMES during his illustrious career -- died Sunday at his home in New Mexico.

He was 87.

Officials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway say Unser died of natural causes -- but did not get into specifics.

Unser -- brother of fellow Indy 500 champ Al Unser -- is survived by his wife, Lisa, along with 2 sons Bobby Jr. and Robby and 2 daughters Cindy and Jeri.

Bobby Unser was a titan of the sport -- winning The Greatest Spectacle in Racing in 3 consecutive decades ... first in 1968, again in 1975 and finally in 1981.

Unser retired from racing in 1983 but went on to become a pretty successful TV analyst -- working for NBC, ABC, ESPN and more.

In fact, Unser was part of the broadcast team that won a Sports Award Emmy in 1989 and 1990 for coverage of the Indy 500.

In 1990, Unser was inducted into both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports HOF.

Unser was a proud military veteran who served 2 years in the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s.

The 2021 Indy 500 is set for May 30 -- and you can bet your ass there will be a massive tribute to Unser at the event.

RIP

NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson Invites NFL's Jamin Davis To Race After Draft Night Shoutout

NFL rookie Jamin Davis had TWO dreams come true this week -- not only did the Kentucky star get drafted to the Washington Football Team ... but his childhood idol, Jimmie Johnson, invited him to a NASCAR race!!

The awesome moment went down on Twitter early Friday morning ... when the 7-time NASCAR Cup champ noticed one of Davis' fun tidbits from Thursday's draft broadcast.

The slide read, "Wanted to race in NASCAR as a child, hoping to meet Jimmie Johnson one day."

And, guess what, Davis -- your wish is about to come true ... 'cause JJ responded by personally inviting the linebacker to a race in the future!!

"I want to wish you the best of luck chasing your dream @jamindavis25 and let’s get you to a race ASAP," Johnson tweeted.

So cool!!!

It doesn't get much better for the 22-year-old, whose name was called with the 19th overall pick Thursday night.

Davis has yet to respond to the racing legend's offer ... but we're sure he'll hit him back with a resounding "HELL YES" soon.

Congrats on the new friendship, Davis ... and welcome to the league!!!

Tony Stewart Engaged To Drag Racer Leah Pruett ... See The Massive Rock!!!

The couple that speeds together, stays together?!

NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart is punching the gas all the way to the alter ... he just got engaged to his drag racer girlfriend Leah Pruett and the diamond ring is MASSIVE!

Stewart confirmed the engagement on social media late Thursday night -- saying, "So excited to spend the rest of my life with a truly amazing woman."

"She’s motivated, hard working, funny as hell, and as dedicated to her sport as anyone I’ve ever known. Love you babe."

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49-year-old Stewart had just celebrated his 1-year dating anniversary with 32-year-old Pruett ... when he decided to put a ring on it this past weekend.

Pruett was so stoked, she casually showed off the hardware on her IG page ... and yeah, we noticed!

BLING BLING
@leah.pruett / Instagram

The couple met in 2019 -- but didn't go "official" until 2020 and reportedly spent the majority of the pandemic quarantined together ... and apparently, it's been going great!

During their 1-year anniversary last week, Tony posted a love note for his lady ... saying, "The last 365 days with this beautiful lady have been the highlight of my life."

"Cheers to one year together and many more to come!"

Looks like he meant what he said ... he's hoping they spend the rest of their lives together!

Stewart is a 3-time NASCAR Cup Series champ and he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2020.

Pruett is also BEAST on the track -- the NHRA Top Fuel driver has 11 total wins in her career.

Stewart has been engaged before ... he proposed to actress/model Pennelope Jimenez back in 2017 but ultimately called things off in 2019.

As for Pruett, she's been married once before -- but that ended in 2019.

No word on when the race car driving lovebirds will formally tie the knot -- but we're guessing it'll be one helluva party.

Congrats!

NASCAR's Kyle Larson Wins 1st Race Since N-Word Incident ... Bubba Congratulates

Kyle Larson was back in NASCAR's victory lane Sunday for the first time since he publicly used the n-word ... and Bubba Wallace was one of the 1st people to congratulate the guy.

Just 11 months after Larson infamously dropped the slur during a virtual race last April ... the 28-year-old smoked the field to win the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas.

And, not only was Bubba waiting for him on the winner's stage to give him a handshake and a hug ... the most famous Black driver in NASCAR also said he was "proud and happy" for Larson afterward.

"Told him way to keep his head thru it all!" Wallace said of Larson's win. "We all knew it was a matter of time.."

Added Larson, "It meant a lot to have Bubba come to victory lane ... He said congrats. He's always believed in me. So that was special."

As we previously reported, Larson faced tremendous backlash after a hot mic caught him using the n-word on a live race stream in April 2020.

THINGS GET RACY

He was fired from his racing team, dropped by major sponsors and suspended by NASCAR over it all.

Larson -- who apologized vehemently for the incident and insisted he was not racist -- was reinstated by NASCAR in October ... and was signed by Hendrick Motorsports a short time later.

Sunday's race was just Larson's fourth with the new team.

Bubba, meanwhile, has supported Larson from the start of the entire drama ... saying at the time of the incident, "I am not mad at him, and I believe that he, along with most people deserve second chances."

Bill Lester -- one of the most famous Black race car drivers ever -- also congratulated Larson for the win ... writing on Twitter, "You got your second chance and absolutely made the most of it! Your talent was never in question, only one of your decisions."

NASCAR Hammers Chip Ganassi Over COVID Violation ... Suspension and Fine

NASCAR is clearly NOT playing around about its COVID safety rules ... it just dropped the hammer on Chip Ganassi for a violation, hitting the famed team owner with both a ban and a fine.

NASCAR officials say at a race at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, Ganassi brought "a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint" into the competition area.

Obviously, it's a huge no-no during the pandemic ... the org is trying like hell to limit any potential spread of the coronavirus, and unauthorized guests certainly compromise that.

So, to send a stern message, NASCAR slapped Ganassi with a one-race suspension as well as a $30,000 fine.

Ganassi will have the opportunity to appeal ... but, for now, he's barred from this weekend's races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

62-year-old Chip is one of racing's biggest names ... his teams have piled up 20 championships and over 200 wins, including a Daytona 500 victory and multiple Indianapolis 500 crowns.

NASCAR Driver Mickey D's Run During Rain Delay ... Staff Freaks Out!!!

FAST FOOD
@CGRTeams / Twitter

Talk about fast food ... how about a NASCAR driver leaving the Daytona 500 in the middle of a race to go on a McDonald's run!?!

That's exactly what Ross Chastain did on Sunday when a rainstorm delayed The Great American Race for more than 5 hours ... right after the 15th lap!

It was clear the weather wasn't going to let up any time soon, so Chastain hopped out of his racing car -- and into his personal car -- so he could speed over to a nearby Mickey D's to grab some food for himself and his crew.

Oh, he was still wearing his green racing suit when he pulled up to the drive-thru ... and the woman working the window couldn't believe it!

"AAAAAHHHH you just came from the racetrack?!" the woman asked.

"Yeah, we're racing, whenever it stops raining!!" Chastain replied.

The staffer couldn't believe her eyes ... saying, "This is my first time meeting a race car driver!" She even called over her co-workers to take a look!

RC explained he drives the #42 McDonald's car ... so it was only right he hooked up his crew with a massive order -- 6 of "everything" for his team and a hot fudge sundae for himself!!

When the race finally resumed, Ross finished in 7th place.

Ba da ba ba ba ...

NASCAR's Brad Keselowski Hulk Smashes Helmet At Daytona ... After Fiery Crash

NASCAR star Brad Keselowski went full Myles Garrett on his car after a risky move cost him a chance at winning the Daytona 500 on Sunday ... smashing his helmet into his whip following a fiery wreck IN THE FINAL LAP!!!

Here's how it went down -- Keselowski tried to make a move to pass Joey Logano to get into first place. Instead, he clipped the back of his teammate’s car ... resulting in a 17-car wreck that caused several drivers to fall out of the race in the process.

Cameras caught Keselowski after the crash ... and the dude was straight-up PISSED -- he walks away disgusted from his wrecked #2 Ford, then takes off his helmet and smashes it to the ground with smoke coming out of his car.

Keselowski spoke out about the unfortunate ending on Twitter ... calling it a "heartbreaker."

"My body is fine but my heart is broke," Keselowski said. "Months of studying, months of tremendous car prep from the #2crew & in the perfect position at the end..."

"Yet, Another #DAYTONA500 slips away..."

Keselowski told reporters after the race he didn't regret the move and was just trying to win. "Don’t feel like I made a mistake, but I can’t drive everyone else’s car. Frustrating."

The wreck is especially sad for Keselowski, since he had the chance to become the second active driver to win NASCAR’s sacred unofficial grand slam ... having won the Southern 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Coca-Cola 600.

Once the crash was cleaned up, underdog Michael McDowell went on to cross the checkered flag for his very first NASCAR win. He was previously 0 for 357 until Sunday!!

Shoutout to Michael McDowell for sticking to and getting his first win ... and hopefully Keselowski and his car can sort it all out in couples therapy.

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