NASCAR fined Kurt Busch $50,000 and placed on probation until July 25 for driving recklessly on pit road during the Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Darlington Raceway and for hitting Ryan Newman's car on pit road following the event.
NASCAR also handed out penalties to three crew members who were involved in a shoving match sparked by Busch's actions following the Bojangles Southern 500.
After a wreck late in the race, the Phoenix Racing driver pulled out of his pit stall and came close to members of Newman’s team, according to Tony Gibson, Newman’s crew chief.
Following the race, Busch ran into the back of Newman on pit road, an accident Busch told Newman was unintentional. Newman crewman Andy Rueger confronted Busch, and a couple of shoving matches ensued.
Craig Strickler, Busch’s motor home driver, was fined $5,000 and put on probation until Dec. 31 for pushing a cameraman during the incident.
Rueger was fined $5,000 and put on probation until June 27 for not following a directive of a NASCAR official and Gibson was put on probation until June 27 for not controlling his crew members.
“It’s bad enough doing normal pit stops, it’s dangerous enough doing that,” Gibson said after the race. “When you come ripping through somebody’s pit box like that, he could have took out five or six guys plus the officials pretty easily.
“I don’t know how somebody didn’t get run over to be honest with you. It’s just a miracle nobody got hit. NASCAR is taking care of it and we’re all good and we’ll go on.”
For Busch, this was the second time in the last six months he had been fined by NASCAR.
Following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he was fined $50,000 for an obscene gesture caught by an in-car camera and for berating ESPN reporter Jerry Punch.
Busch was released from his Penske Racing ride a week later and landed with Phoenix Racing, owned by James Finch.
“NASCAR will handle it—they’ll do their deal,” Gibson said. “We’re good with them. We’ve got nothing against Finch’s bunch.
“We’re friends with all those guys. … You can’t do nothing about a driver.”
It was the second time Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, has been penalized for dangerous actions on pit road. He was fined $100,000 and docked 100 points in 2007 for making contact with Tony Stewart’s car on pit road while Stewart’s crew worked on the car. He also was parked for the remainder of that event.