November 22, 2011
And no, we're not kidding.
In a video captured by a fan, Busch can be heard directing repeated expletives at ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch as the two waited to conduct an interview inside the Sprint Cup garage. Standing next to Busch, who'd exited his damaged race car, Punch asks Busch if he thinks debris from his car damaged the grill on Tony Stewart's car. Busch didn't take kindly to the question and let Punch know it. (You can view the uncensored video here. Warning: It does contain explicit language.)
Punch eventually walked away from Busch — to Busch's pleasure.
Moments earlier as he pulled his car into the garage, Busch was seen on his in-car camera giving someone a one-finger salute.
This isn't Busch's first run-in with the media this year. After qualifying for the Chase at Richmond (where he and Jimmie Johnson played bumper cars), Busch was none too happy with the post-race questioning in the press conference, claiming he didn't say something a reporter quoted him as saying. When shown the transcript of his quote, Busch ripped it in half.
Busch's frustrations haven't been limited to the media, either. Over the course of the season his radio channel has become a must-listen whenever his car isn't performing well, as there's no telling what he'll say when frustrated. At one point, he compared his car to a monkey and a football — an analogy that we're still trying to wrap our heads around.
UPDATE: Tuesday afternoon, Penske Racing and Kurt Busch released the following statements:
"Penske Racing extends its apologies to Dr. Jerry Punch, our media partners and our sponsors and fans for Kurt Busch's inappropriate actions in Homestead on Sunday. These actions do not represent Penske Racing and are inconsistent with the company's standards for behavior, respect for others and professionalism. This matter is being reviewed internally with no further comment at this time."
Busch: "Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team. In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me. I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing , to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch."
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