Last month at Darlington, Kurt Busch found himself in a familiar position. He was having trouble with his underfunded new team, Phoenix Racing, and his fuse was already short. When he got back to pit row, he drove recklessly and got into an altercation with Ryan Newman’s pit crew. That earned him a month of probation from NASCAR officials. Last week at Dover’s Nationwide Series race, Busch went from probation to suspension after a verbal confrontation with Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass went viral.
When asked by Pockrass if his suspension was affecting how he was racing with Justin Allgaier, Busch snapped, ”It refrains me from not beating the (expletive) out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions. But since I’m on probation, I suppose that’s improper to say as well.”
While Busch was right–it was improper to say–he said it and it was caught on video. It very quickly went viral, forcing NASCAR’s hand. Busch’s long history of anger problems is well known, thought he’s not quite up to Jeremy Mayfield’s level of troubled. Despite being a champion in 2004 and having won at least one race a season for the last 10 years, Busch is also a hothead who has been seeing a sports psychologist to deal with his anger since losing his position at Penske Racing during the last off-season.
This could also be a sign of NASCAR’s changing culture as, during Busch’s first Daytona 500, he was flipped the bird during the race by Dale Earnhardt. Maybe NASCAR has no place for hotheads anymore.
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