Kurt Busch lost his temper in a race over the weekend and the driver, who has had anger-management problems, has been fined $50,000 and placed on probation by NASCAR for recklessly driving through Ryan Newman’s pit stall and nearly hitting crew members at Darlington Raceway.
Busch, whose suspension ends July 25, had stopped to fix his car after colliding with the wall, then headed to pit road. Newman wasn’t involved in the crash but pitted after spinning.
“It's dangerous enough doing normal pit stops,” Tony Gibson, Newman’s crew chief, said. “When you come ripping through someone's pit box like that, [Busch] could have took out five or six guys, plus the officials, pretty easy. I don't know how someone didn't get run over. It's a miracle no one got hit.”
In addition to Busch, Craig Strickler, a member of his Phoenix Racing crew, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for interfering with a camerman.
Gibson was placed on probation until June 27 because of a rule that says a crew chief is responsible for his team members. Andrew Rueger, Newman’s gasman, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until June 27 for not obeying a NASCAR official who told him not to pursue Busch on pit road.
Busch wasn’t talking after the scuffle or after the fine was announced. But Newman was.
“It's easy to say that Kurt blew a fuse again,” Newman said, via SI.com. “I'm not sure why he did it and tried to run over our guys and NASCAR officials. And nobody is. I think the chemical imbalance [presumably Busch’s anger management issues] speaks for itself. Kurt drilled me in pit lane and said that he was taking his helmet off, and he didn't see where he was going.
“I'm pretty sure there were 42 other guys that are taking their helmets off and doing whatever for the last 10 years, and that's the first time that's happened to me.”
In November, Busch was fined $50,000 for making an obscene gesture when his transmission broke down and for a profanity-laced tirade directed at a reporter. Shortly afterward, Penske Racing fired him.
In December, Busch said he was working with a sports psychologist.
“I need to be a better person on the radio, to the team, as a leader,” Busch said then. “It's personal issues, of course, and working with a sports psychologist, I've gotten obviously a small grasp, but there's obviously bigger things that I need to accomplish and things can't happen overnight.”