Penske Racing has fired Kurt Busch, marking the second time he has been axed because of a non-racing matter.
Busch was fined $50,000 on Nov. 25 by NASCAR for profanely lacing into a reporter and for using an obscene gesture during the Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Video of the tirade has been viewed over 600,000 times on YouTube. The Charlotte Observer reported that he would be fired Sunday night.
“I appreciate the victories that Kurt has brought Penske Racing and our sponsors over the past six years,” Roger Penske said in a statement. “While I am disappointed that Kurt will not be racing for our team in the future, both Kurt and I felt that separating at this time was best for all parties, including our team and sponsors. I wish Kurt the best in his future racing endeavors.”
Busch added in a statement: “I am grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years. Together we won a lot of races — 16 in all. Leaving a great organization and a lucrative contract is not easy, but it's an important step for me and allows me to take a deep breath to work on things that can make me a better driver and a better person. I want to personally thank Roger Penske for the opportunity that he has given me.”
Busch was fired by Roush Fenway Racing in November 2005 after being cited in an alcohol-related incident in Avondale, Ariz., for criminal recklessness. After sitting out the rest of the 2005 season, he began driving for Penske in 2006.
Busch indicated last week that he has been seeing a sports psychologist for two months.
“I need to be a better person on the radio, to the team, as a leader,” Busch said. ”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.”