NASCAR has announced that Phoenix Racing driver Kurt Busch has been fined $50,000 and placed on probation until July 25th for his actions following the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Kurt Busch got loose and spun, during the closing laps of the race. As Ryan Newman slowed to avoid Busch’s spinning No. 51 Sprint Cup Chevy, he was hit from behind and turned. Both cars made contact with the inside retaining wall, effectively ending both of their nights.
After the cars came to pit road following the checkered flag, Andy Rueger, gas man for the No. 39 Stewart Haas Racing team, confronted Busch’s crew on pit road, shoving at least one of Busch’s crewmen. Rueger was reportedly upset that Busch drove through the No. 39’s pit box after the accident.
As crewmen and NASCAR officials restrained Reuger, one official fell onto the hood of Busch’s car. It is unclear whether the official was pushed or lost his footing, though NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton indicated that he thought the official might have lost his balance.
Busch was found to have violated Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing; reckless driving on pit road during the race; involved in an altercation with another competitor after the completion of the race) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book. Additionally, Craig Strickler, a crew member for the No. 51 team, has been fined $5,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing; interfering with a member of the broadcast media). Strickler covered a TV camera lens with his hand as Busch walked down pit road.
Rueger has been fined $5,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until June 27 for violating Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing; failure to comply with a directive from a NASCAR official) for his part in the incident. And, Tony Gibson, crew chief for the No. 39 team, has been placed on NASCAR probation until June 27 for violating Section 12-1 and Sections 12-4G and 9-4A (Crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his team members).