Auto Racing Extras
By Chris Symeon, Motorsports Editor - Archive - Email
Anger management 102 needed for Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch is now in jeopardy of losing his ride with Phoenix Racing.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Kurt Busch admitted last December that he was working with a sports psychologist to resolve his "personal issues," so you would figure he's learned how to control his anger by now.

He hasn't.

After NASCAR penalized him twice within a month for bad behavior, it's obvious that Busch didn't really comprehend anything in anger management 101.

Perhaps he needs a remedial course.

Last month, NASCAR fined Busch $50,000 and placed him on probation until July 25 following his actions in the 500-mile race at Darlington Raceway. The sanctioning body penalized Busch for "reckless driving on pit road during the race" and for being "involved in an altercation with another competitor (a crew member from Ryan Newman's team) after the completion of the race."

On Monday, NASCAR suspended Busch from competition until June 13 after officials determined he violated his probation when he verbally abused a member of the media following the conclusion of last Saturday's 200-mile Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway.

Busch made threatening comments to Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass when Pockrass asked him if his probation impacted how he raced Justin Allgaier during the Nationwide event. Busch responded, "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. If you could talk about racing things, then we can talk about racing things, Bob ... It's not racing. You're in this just to start stuff. That's all you're out here for."

Busch and Allgaier had a heated discussion on pit road after the race. The two made contact with each other multiple times in the early going. Busch was driving the No. 54 car, which is owned by his younger brother, Kyle.

Moments before his incident with Pockrass, Busch talked about his run-ins with Allgaier to television reporter Dr. Jerry Punch during ESPN's coverage of the race. Busch said, "At the initial start of the race, [Allgaier] started packing underneath someone and got loose in front of me, and he thinks I purposely hit him. And so he drove like a you know what to try and door us and try to do stupid things on the track. I'm on probation, so I can't even pick my nose the right way."

Not only has Busch been banned from next Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, but his probation has been extended through the remainder of the year as well.

Busch has publicly apologized for the comments he made to Pockrass.

David Reutimann will drive Busch's No. 51 Sprint Cup car at Pocono. Busch will be allowed to compete in the June 17 event at Michigan International Speedway.

Since his 2001 rookie season in Cup, Busch has had numerous altercations with his team members, fellow competitors and members of the media. In fact, Busch's disorderly behavior has cost him his job twice.

In last November's season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch made an inappropriate hand gesture and used foul language while waiting to be interview by Punch in the garage area during ESPN's broadcast of the event. NASCAR fined Busch $50,000 for his actions. He was also dismissed from Penske Racing, where he had been with since the start of the 2006 season.

Prior to his ride with Penske, Busch drove for Roush Fenway Racing in Cup for five years, including his championship season in 2004. But Busch lost his job at Roush with two races remaining in the 2005 season due to an alcohol-related incident in Phoenix.

Busch is now in jeopardy of losing his ride with Phoenix Racing, which is an underfunded single-car team in Sprint Cup. He has a one-year verbal agreement with team owner James Finch to drive the No. 51 car. Finch plans to meet with Busch next week to discuss his future with the team.

"I don't want to give up on the talent that Kurt has," Finch said during an interview with Sirius/XM NASCAR radio on Tuesday. "Kurt is one of the best drivers there. He's got some problems he's got to work through, and hopefully he can do that. And if he can't, then I've got to go forward."

Busch has already wrecked 14 of Finch's car this season, including four in February at Daytona International Speedway. Three of those cars have been permanently damaged.

If Busch doesn't learn how to control himself soon, his career in Sprint Cup could be wrecked beyond repair as well.

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