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Penalties fly after Darlington fracas

NASCAR has fined Kurt Busch and issued a number of post-race penalties following an altercation between pit lane crews at the end of last weekend's Southern 500 at Darlington.
Kurt Busch might have signed up with Phoenix Racing to just have some fun in 2012, but it seems that his notorious temper is still not far from the surface - and landed him in trouble again at Darlington Raceway at the end of last Saturday's Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.

The original incident started when Kurt Busch blew out a tyre and spun the #51 car while running in the top ten with six laps remaining in the race; Ryan Newman was also involved in the incident. Fuming at the lost opportunity, Busch came on to pit road for a costly stop and exited his pit box in an angry burnout and plumes of tyre smoke that took him through Newman's pit box - where members of the #39 crew were still out working.

"When you come ripping through someone's pit box like that, he could have took out five or six guys plus the officials pretty easy," said Newman's Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief Tony Gibson. "I don't know how somebody didn't get run over, to be honest with you. It was just a miracle somebody didn't get hit."

That set off a row between Busch and Newman's pit crews, with Newman's refueller Andrew Rueger storming down to Busch's hauler to wait for him at the end of the race, leading the Phoenix team to get onto Busch over the team radio to tell him to park the car at the entrance of pit road after the race rather than risk a physical altercation. In the meantime, the situation worsened when Busch made contact with Newman out on track after the chequered flag: Busch said it was accidental, but Newman thought otherwise.

"It's easy to see and it's easy to say that Kurt blew a fuse again ... I think that he lied and was so frustrated that he doesn't know how to deal with his anger," said Newman. "I'm not sure why he did it and tried to run over our guys and NASCAR officials."

The Newman crew rushed to where Busch has parked to confront him, with a NASCAR official sent tumbling as organisers tried to break up the confrontation and Busch himself was restrained by his pit crew and pulled away from the fracas.

As a result of the incident, NASCAR's regular scheduled Tuesday post-race announcements included a slew of penalties for the people involved - with Kurt Busch top of the list getting a $50,000 fine for reckless driving on pit road during the race and being involved in an altercation with another competitor (Newman) after the completion of the race. Busch was also placed under formal probation through to July 25.

One of Busch's #51 personnel, motorhome driver Craig Strickler, was also fined $5,000 and placed on probation through to the end of the year for "interfering with a member of the broadcast media" after he tried placing his hand over the lens of a camera recording the incident.

On the Newman side of the incident, Tony Gibson was put on probation through to June 27, as the crew chief is deemed by NASCAR to be held accountable for the actions of his personnel on pit road even though he himself was not personally involved in any of the actions.




Related Pictures

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Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Wix Filters Chevrolet, and Kurt Busch, driver of the #51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet, slide out of turn 2 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles` Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday in Darlington, SC (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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