Kyle Busch to work with B.R.A.K.E.S.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kyle Busch has a plan to turn negative publicity from being charged with going 128 mph in a 45 mph zone down a rural road in North Carolina into a positive.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver and his foundation have pledged to help 10 schools put more than 300 teens through the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) program that NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Doug Herbert began in 2008 after his sons Jon and James were killed in an automobile accident while speeding.
Busch also plans to appear in several public service announcements promoting the nonprofit program that teaches teens and their parents safe driving and will incorporate the organization as an associate sponsor on his No. 18 in the Truck Series.
"One of the things I focused on and said back in May was I really wanted to use this situation to generate positives from it and learn from it," Busch told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "Anytime you have situations like this you hope to at least make something positive of it."
Busch was charged on May 24 with careless and reckless driving and speeding. He has a hearing set for Aug. 23. If convicted of speeding and reckless driving the 26-year-old driver could have his license automatically suspended for 60 days.
He could also be found guilty of a second-class misdemeanor that has a maximum punishment of up to 60 days in jail and suspension of license for up to 12 months.
"We can really touch a lot of families because of Kyle's involvement, from the standpoint of getting the word out and also financial support," Herbert said. "What Kyle is doing for B.R.A.K.E.S will really make a difference and something good is actually going to happen because of it."
Busch hopes his story will help keep teens from putting themselves in a similar situation that could threaten their safety and the safety of others.
"After spending time with Doug and getting to hear his story about that, it was easy to see this was the right fit for me to get my message out and help get their message out," Busch said. "Certainly, I don't have any excuses for my actions and I'm sorry for what happened.
"But ideally I want to find a way to learn from it and take something positive out of it, and I felt B.R.A.K.E.S. was the best way to do that," he said.
Herbert expects Busch's story to impact teen drivers such as the 3,000 who have gone through his program in a positive way the way his story about his sons has.
"That's all we can do," Herbert said. "That's what I've tried to do over the last three years. Kyle, even though he's been to a couple of our events in the past and knew my story a little bit, I don't think he understood the real meaning of B.R.A.K.E.S until now.
"That kind of helps him put in perspective his role and his role as a model to all NASCAR fans and teenagers," he said.
Herbert approached Busch about the idea of joining forces shortly after Busch was charged. He said the more the two talked the more Busch seemed to realized his actions even away from the track impacts others.
"I just saw the look in his face when the discussion was about, 'Kyle, people pay attention to you,'" Herbert said. "I told him even kids or teenagers could justify doing something dumb because of him being careless about what he was doing.
"I really think that sunk into him ... about not following the rules, not being aware of what's going on, not thinking about the consequences. That's a lot of what B.R.A.K.E.S is about. I got the feeling he understands that after our talk, hearing my story and maybe putting himself in my shoes a little bit," he said.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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