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Kurt Busch suspended over media comments

The last time that a driver was suspended from race events was Kurt's brother Kyle last November when he was parked at Texas for taking dangerous retaliatory action against Ron Hornaday Jr in a Friday evening Truck Series race. The last time a driver received a suspension for actions not on the race track was 2003, when Jimmy Spencer was suspended for trying to hit a driver through a car window on pit lane: ironically, the driver on the receiving end that time was none other than Kurt Busch.

Undoubtedly, NASCAR's quick and severe response to Busch's Saturday night comments is the culmination of a year's worth of controversial temper-prone behaviour by Busch, a former Sprint Cup champion. At the end of the 2011 season Busch lost his temper with Jerry Punch in post-race interviews and was duly fined $50,000 by the series and ultimately lost his place in the Penske Racing team.

The Darlington incident last month which involved a confrontation between his crew and that of Ryan Newman's team also netted a $50,000 fine and got him placed on probation through to July 25, and it's because Busch's latest comments came while still on that probation - and seemingly also directly mocking the probation sanction as he did so - that NASCAR upped the ante with the penalty.

"It was something that we considered very carefully before come to decision like this," confirmed NASCAR's spokesman Kerry Tharp. "There are many factors that we consider when coming to a decision like this."

For his part, Kurt Busch said in a statement released by his Cup team: "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."

The official NASCAR notice said that "NASCAR has suspended driver Kurt Busch until June 13 of this year and extended his NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for his actions following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race June 2 at Dover International Speedway."

It added: "Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book. Kurt Busch had previously been placed on NASCAR probation May 15 for his actions during the May 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway. That probation was originally scheduled to end July 25 but has now been extended through the end of this year."

While there may have been general surprise from the media and from fans about the suspension, few questioned that it was a long time in coming one way or another.

"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," said Jimmy Spencer, the former Cup driver parked in 2003 for trying to hit Busch. "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," added Spencer. "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."



Related Pictures

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Kyle Busch (right) announces the signing of his brother Kurt to race with him in the Kyle Busch Motorsports #54 Nationwide Series car in 2012. [Picture Credit: Kyle Busch Motorsports]
Kurt Busch celebrates the first NASCAR Nationwide Series win for Kyle Busch Motorsports on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch watches practice at Daytona (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, races with Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cameron Hayley, driver of the #13 Cabinets by Hayley/The Carolina Nut Co. Toyota, races with Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Pro Services Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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Texas Roadhouse

June 05, 2012 4:45 PM

Having watched various racing formats over here for some years, I still cannot get over the crass stupidity of some interviewers, both in their timing, and the inane questions they come out with. It never fails to amaze me how composed the interviewees remains, in such stressful situations. That Kurt Busch spoke his mind should not have attracted such a penalty. Maybe the various ruling bodies should also consider penalising those fools with microphones who ask the stupid questions, or interfere during racing to get comments. It's a 2-way street.

Marty - Unregistered

June 05, 2012 5:48 PM

Kudos to you Kurt. If NASCAR wants to be so strict and show favoritism to certain teams and one driver let them have at it. Nascar is has been will remain the same until all new faces are in place at the top. It's a shame a driver can't express himself anymore.



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