By Jim Utter, McClatchy Newspapers –
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kurt Busch’s temper has cost him again.
NASCAR on Monday suspended Busch from all competition through June 13 for verbal abuse toward a media member following Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion, will not be allowed to compete in Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., nor participate in any of the extra testing days the track is hosting later this week.
NASCAR did not become aware of the incident between Busch and Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass until Saturday night when Speed showed video of the post-race exchange between the two.
After the race on pit road, Pockrass asked Busch if being on NASCAR-imposed probation caused him to race Justin Allgaier differently than he might otherwise have. Busch and Allgaier made contact during the race and had a verbal exchange afterward.
“It refrains me from beating the – – – – out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions,” Busch told Pockrass. “But since I’m on probation, I suppose that’s improper to say, as well.”
Busch had previously been placed on NASCAR probation May 15 for his actions during the Cup race at Darlington, S.C., when he did a burnout through driver Ryan Newman’s pit nearly hitting crew members and a NASCAR official.
That probation was originally scheduled to end July 25 but has now been extended through the end of this year.
“I accept NASCAR’s decision,” Busch said in a statement. “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.”
There was no immediate response from Pockrass regarding the suspension.
Busch had run-ins with two other media members last year and was fined $50,000 for an obscenity-laced tirade against ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch during the season finale race at Homestead, Fla.
After that incident Busch parted ways with Penske Racing and has been driving the No. 51 Chevrolet for owner James Finch this season in Cup as well as driving several races for a Nationwide team owned by his brother, Kyle Busch.