Published on June 4th, 2012 | by Michael J Smith1
Kurt Busch Suspended; To Miss Pocono Cup Race
For the second time in as many seasons, a video of Kurt Busch berating a reporter before the Fed Ex 400 at Dover International Speedway went viral. Busch met with NASCAR President Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton to discuss the incident.
NASCAR is currently mulling punishment for the driver.
Last season, Busch berated ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The tirade would ultimately lead to Busch’s release from Penske Racing. He also reportedly had run ins with the Associate Press’s Jenna Fryer and NASCAR.com’s Joe Menzer.
In the latest incident, Busch was asked by Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass about his incident and discussion with Justin Allgaier after the 5-Hour Energy 200. Busch and Allgaier made contact, but there was no retaliation.
[The probation] refrains me from beating the (expletive) out of you right now, because you ask me stupid questions. But since I’m on probation, I suppose that that’s improper to say as well.
Busch is on probation for doing a burnout in Ryan Newman’s pitbox after the Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
Update: NASCAR has suspended Kurt Busch until June 13th, meaning he will miss this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway. He will be eligible to return for the June 17 race at Michigan International Speedway. His probation, which was set to be lifted on July 25th, will now be extended until the end of the season.
The sanctioning body found that 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.
Busch said in a 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.
Phoenix Racing owner James Finch indicated that Busch may not return to the team. He said he will sit down with Busch over the next few days to determine whether or not they will move forward together.
In the meantime, Finch is looking for a driver to replace Busch at Pocono. Brian Vickers is said to be a candidate. David Reutimann is also said to be in the mix, but he is slated to drive Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 10 in the race.
Update: James Finch, owner of Phoenix Racing, said that Kurt Busch would be retained, and would not be released, as some had hoped after his latest outburst. In a statement, Finch said:
We have met with Kurt. At the end of the day, we are racers so we’re going racing together with Kurt and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet. We know adjustments have to be made, but how we fix that is between Kurt and myself.
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