Kurt Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup Champion, has been suspended by NASCAR for one week due to verbal abuse of a media member.
Busch was already on probation for reckless driving on pit road in the Sprint Cup race Darlington and a post race incident with Ryan Newman’s crew members.
Due to the latest incident Busch’s probation has been extended till the year’s end.
The latest penalty arises after the Nationwide Series race in Dover on Saturday. After a hard fought race with Justin Allgaier Busch said, in a television interview, that he couldn’t retaliate against his rival due to the probation.
Minutes later, a Sporting News journalist asked Busch if the NASCAR probation effected Busch’s driving in the race.
Busch’s response which was recorded and played on television was “it refrains me from not beating the (expletive) out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions. But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well."
This was another turn in Busch’s downward spiral since last November when Busch, then driving for Penske Racing, ranted against a television reporter (which was not televised) and captured in a video which was seen many times on YouTube.
After that incident NASCAR fined the driver $50,000. Very shortly thereafter Busch and Penske parted ways.
Busch is now driving for the one-car Phoenix Racing, using Hendrick Motorsport equipment in Sprint Cup, and driving for his younger brother, Kyle Busch in the Nationwide Series. Despite what appears to be a demotion he’s been driving quite well. He’s trying to get back with a top team again in difficult times for less temperamental drivers.
As for the penalty a former rival, Jimmy Spencer, now a TV analyst at SpeedTV weighed in:
“Kurt Busch’s suspension is long overdue, and that is coming from someone who learned his lesson after sitting out a race for punching him a few years ago. Kurt has been given plenty of chances to right his wrongs and put himself back on the right path, but he has failed to take advantage of any of those opportunities. NASCAR had to do something to restore a sense of respect toward the sport on Kurt’s behalf because he seems to consistently flaunt his disrespect for everything and everyone in this sport. Maybe sitting out and watching the race from the pit box or his couch will wake him up to how great he really has it.
Speaking from experience, I can say that my suspension was extremely upsetting to me, but it made me a better person off the track. That’s what Kurt needs now, and I hope this helps him. It seems to have straightened his little brother, Kyle, out, and I hope the same is true for Kurt.”
Busch released the following statement: "I accept NASCAR’s decision. I put them in a box, they had to take action and it’s my fault for putting them in this position. I apologize for the comments I made to Bob Pockrass.”