By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The SportsXchange
Kurt Busch's wallet is considerably lighter after NASCAR hit the driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet with a $50,000 fine and probation until July 25 for reckless driving on pit road during the closing laps of the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup race last Saturday night.
Craig Strickler, one of Busch's handlers, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31 for interfering with broadcast media after the race. Strickler blocked the lens of a TV camera with his hand as Busch was walking down pit road.
Andy Rueger, gas man for the No. 39 team of Ryan Newman, was fined $5,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until June 27 for failing to obey the instructions of a NASCAR official. It was Rueger who was at the forefront of a post-race confrontation stemming from Busch's drive through the No. 39 pit stall after his car was repaired from a late-race wreck.
NASCAR officials tried to restrain Rueger, and during the scuffle, a NASCAR official lost his balance and fell across the hood of Busch's car. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said at the time that he didn't consider the official's fall the result of a deliberate act, adding that the official simply lost his footing.
Tony Gibson, Newman's crew chief, was placed on probation until June 27 as the person responsible for the actions of his crew.
The penalty announcement of Busch's fine and probation also included a reference to Busch's altercation with another competitor after the race. Rueger, who ran to Busch's car and initiated the altercation, was not cited for the confrontation, simply for failure to comply with the directive of a NASCAR official.