Kurt Busch’s outburst draws mixed reactions from fellow drivers
Charlotte, NC, United States (AHN Sports) – Though he has a documented history of making verbal outbursts, there were mixed reactions among Kurt Busch’s fellow Sprint Cup drivers on his altercation with a member of the media this past weekend at Dover International Speedway.
Busch was suspended until June 13 for violating his probation.
Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion, has been banned from competing in next weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway after reportedly making threatening comments to Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass following Saturday’s Nationwide Series race.
His latest outburst at Dover, which was caught on tape, occurred when Pockrass asked him if his probation impacted how he raced Justin Allgaier during last Saturday’s 200-mile Nationwide Series race.
Busch, who has been penalized by NASCAR three times within the past seven months, has apologized for the incident Monday after being punished.
Busch was fined $50,000 last month and placed on probation until July 25 following his actions in the 500-mile race at Darlington Raceway. He was penalized for “reckless driving on pit road during the race” and for being “involved in an altercation with another competitor after the completion of the race.”
Busch figured in a confrontation with Ryan Newman and his crew following the May 12 Sprint Cup race.
The 33-year-old American NASCAR and NHRA driver Busch has been involved in a series of attacks on media members dating back to last season, but there were some who defended Busch’s latest comments.
Three-time champion Tony Stewart was among who took a different stance on Busch’s remarks to the Sporting News reporter.
“I’ll be honest, I liked [Busch's] answer,” Stewart said Tuesday on Sirius XM NASCAR radio. “I kind of thought it was good when it pertains to Bob Pockrass. Bob’s a decent guy. But there’s just so many good things to write about in our sport.
“There’s a couple of reporters that strictly want to be tabloid journalists. Unfortunately, he’s one of them,” added Stewart.
Jeff Burton took the opposite stance and offered his thoughts on the latest penalty for Busch.
“Kurt’s talent is unquestioned,” Burton said via ESPN.com Wednesday before Stewart’s charity race at Eldora Speedway. “Kurt’s instinct to step away last winter to get his head on straight and come back was probably correct. I think our sport needs people like Kurt, but when Kurt is good Kurt.”
“When he does things like this past weekend, that’s not good for him, our sport or anybody,” Burton said.
Busch’s probation, which was scheduled end on July 25, has now been extended through the remainder of the year as a result of Saturday’s incident.
According to a release from NASCAR on Monday, Busch violated Section 12-1 of the rulebook regarding actions detrimental to stock car racing, violations of probation and verbal abuse to a media member.
Busch has been banned from competing in next Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race. David Reutimann is set to drive Busch’s No. 51 Sprint Cup at Pocono Raceway.
Busch will be allowed to compete in the June 17 event at Michigan International Speedway.
On Wednesday, Busch notched his first Prelude to the Dream victory held in Rossburg, Ohio.
He finished 2.283 seconds ahead of runner-up Stewart, the track owner and race promoter.