In his first interaction with the media following his one-race suspension for a verbal altercation with a member of the media, Kurt Busch had … another brief altercation.
This time it came with ESPN's Marty Smith following Busch's third-place run in Saturday's Nationwide race. Per NASCAR rules, any driver who finishes in the top three is mandated to first talk with MRN Radio on pit road, then visit the infield media center. Busch skipped his pit-road obligation. When told in the media center that MRN had reported he'd left without fulfilling his obligations, Busch reportedly replied, "That's what everybody says, don't they?"
He then left the media center followed by a trail of reporters, including Smith, according to reports. Busch then told Smith to come over with a camera. When Smith did, Busch refused an interview, saying, "You ever hear of sarcasm?"
Busch later returned to the media center to say, "It was great to drive the car."
This latest flare-up comes two weeks after Busch had words for Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News following a Nationwide race at Dover. For that incident, Busch received a one-week suspension from NASCAR.
Team owner James Finch ordered Busch to stay away from the media in his return to the track this weekend at Michigan. However, when Busch finished third, NASCAR's mandate forced him to meet with reporters.
It's unlikely NASCAR will penalize Busch for this latest incident, but that's of little consequence compared to the bigger issues Busch faces. He needs an owner willing to give him a ride and sponsors willing to fork over cash to support a competitive race team.
To this point, sponsors haven't shown a willingness to associate their brand with the tempestuous Busch. And while Finch provided Busch a second chance after his ouster at Penske Racing and now a third one after his one-race suspension, will Finch stand by his driver after yet another incident that could have easily been avoided?
Busch will race for Finch Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. What's to come is whether Finch will have him in the No. 51 next weekend in Sonoma.