FONTANA, Calif. Kyle Busch was forced to give up the seat in his Roush Racing Ford on Friday after weekend sponsor Marlboro objected to the 16-year-old driver racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series event at California Speedway.
"He didn't qualify today and possibly he might not race," said Kevin Triplett, director of operations for NASCAR.
The objection from Marlboro was based on an interpretation of the agreement between big tobacco companies and state attorneys general that precludes the involvement of persons under 18 years old in events sponsored by the companies.
"The decision was based on an interpretation of the agreement between the weekend sponsor, the track and the state," Triplett said. "The situation was just too complicated to solve before qualifying today."
Marlboro is the overall sponsor of the weekend that includes the Auto Club 200 truck race today and the Toyota 500 CART race and the Dayton Indy Lights event Sunday.
Busch, the younger brother of current Winston Cup rookie Kurt Busch, was replaced in the truck by Tim Woods, who has driven Winston West stock car events for Jack Roush's team.
Representatives of the sponsor, the team, NASCAR and California Speedway met for 3 1/2 hours Friday without resolving the situation. However, Roush agreed to replace Busch in the truck at least for qualifying while the discussions continued.
Max Jones, general manager of Roush Racing, said, "Kyle met all of the NASCAR and Craftsman requirements to run this event and because of circumstances outside of NASCAR's control and Roush Racing's control, he's not going to be able to run."