TROUTMAN, N.C. -- Kyle Busch qualified for this past weekend's All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Traveling 135 mph got him the pole. That's about as fast as he was driving Tuesday, but it wasn't on a race track.
Busch admitted he got a little carried away. Iredell County authorities say they clocked him driving 128 mph in a 45 mph zone.
Hundreds lined up at a Walmart in Concord for his autograph Tuesday night, just hours after he was pulled over by police.
The NASCAR star was test-driving a Lexus LFA sports car on Perth Road south of Troutman. The Charlotte Observer reports his wife, Samantha, was a passenger. He was pulled over around 2 p.m. Tuesday after being clocked driving 128 mph in a 45 mph zone.
Busch also owns his own truck series team. It's headquartered on Mazeppa Road in Mooresville, about four miles southeast of where he was stopped.
Busch didn't speak to reporters at his autograph signing, but he did issue a statement:
"Today I received a traffic citation in Iredell County. I was test driving a new sports car and I got carried away. I went beyond the speed I should have been going on a public road. I apologize to the public, my fans, sponsors, and race teams for my lack of judgment. I take responsibility for my actions and I can assure you that something like this will never happen again. I thank the Iredell County Sheriff's Department and all law enforcement for the hard work they do every day to protect the public and to enforce the laws in a fair and equitable manner."
NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp told the Charlotte Observer the speeding ticket does not violate the probation Busch received from the sanctioning body for a pit road altercation at Darlington, S.C., this month.
"This is a matter that Kyle will have to handle with the authorities in Iredell County," Tharp said. "Based on what we know right now, this would not impact his status as a NASCAR driver."
This is not Busch's first speeding violation.
Court records show Busch was cited with speeding 55 mph in a 35 mph-zone in Iredell County in 2008. He was found "responsible" for speeding, according to records, but his speed was reduced to 44 mph.
"I've been a fan since he's been with Joe Gibbs racing," said Chad Everhart, who waited four hours Tuesday to see Busch and get pictures signed. "He shouldn't have been going that fast. I don't know why some celebrities think they're above the law."
Yes, Everhart admits he's disappointed in his favorite driver, but will he forgive him? "Yes," he said emphatically.
Kevin Johnson hadn't heard the news. "I'd do it if I could," he laughed when learning of the citation.
But not everyone is laughing. Many here for Speed Week say they're disappointed.
"That's a really, really, bad decision," said Sean Lewis, a fan from Florida.
His son, Jim, just started driving less than an hour ago. "Him being my favorite driver, that's a bad influence on me," said the 15-year-old Busch fan.
Busch was not arrested and his license wasn't suspended. That is "not" special treatment, according to Iredell County Lt. Troy Miller.
"Of course, in this situation he lives here. And we're not concerned that he won't show up for court. And he was cooperative with the officer," Miller said.
Miller said it will be up to a judge to decide how Busch is punished. He explained it could be in the form of anything from a fine to probation.
Busch drives the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. He's scheduled to race in the Coca-Cola 600 this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Lexus issued the following statement following Busch's arrest:
"Lexus gave Kyle Busch the opportunity for a demonstration drive and he obviously chose to test those capabilities. He is scheduled to return the LFA tomorrow (Wednesday) and we're confident he'll do so in a responsible manner."