Busch, one of the most emotional racers in NASCAR, is coming off an exceptionally difficult weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. In Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series, Busch lost his shot at a series-record 13th victory in a single season when Carl Edwards appeared to jump a late-race restart.
After the race, Busch let loose with a series of expletives in his PRN post-race radio interview and stormed out of his mandatory appearance in the TMS Media Center after fielding just three questions. Asked if he’d gone to NASCAR to discuss Edwards’ restart, Busch said, “Does it f---ing matter? The race is over. The guy’s in victory lane. It doesn’t matter.” He then left the media center.
It got worse on Sunday.
After spinning out in the AAA Texas 500, Busch was penalized for speeding on pit road. When he pulled into the pits, he flipped an upraised middle finger at a NASCAR official, an act that was captured on camera. For making the gesture, Busch was penalized an additional two laps. He finished the race in 32nd place.
Late Tuesday afternoon, NASCAR fined Busch $25,000 and put him on suspension until the year for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing – inappropriate gesture and verbal abuse to NASCAR Officials) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book.
Moments after the penalty, Busch issued an apology.
“I accept NASCAR’s penalty and realize what I did during Sunday’s race at Texas was inappropriate,” Busch said in a statement released to the media. “Even in my relatively short time here in NASCAR, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Sometimes that passion has allowed me to find that little something extra I needed to win, and other times it’s made me cross the line. Sunday at Texas was one of those days.
“I lost my cool, plain and simple. It’s not acceptable, and I know that. I apologize to NASCAR, its fans, all the partners who support Joe Gibbs Racing, and all the people who work so hard to give me a race car that’s capable of winning races every week. All of those people deserve better from me, and I owe it to them to keep my emotions in check.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.