By David Carievello
Kurt Busch has been suspended from this weekend's activities at Pocono Raceway by NASCAR as a result of his actions in the Nationwide Series event at Dover International Speedway this past Saturday.
Busch was already on probation because of a run-in with Ryan Newman's crew following the May 12 Sprint Cup event at Darlington Raceway. After his fourth-place finish in Saturday's Nationwide race, Busch was asked about racing while on probation and proceeded to verbally berate the reporter who posed the question.
"It refrains me from not beating the s--- out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions," Busch said in a video posted by Speed Channel. "But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well."
According to NASCAR, Busch violated Section 12-1 of the rulebook, specifically actions detrimental to stock car racing and verbal abuse of a media member. Busch's probation was scheduled to end July 25, but has now been extended though the end of the season.
Suspensions are a rare step undertaken by the sanctioning body. Kyle Busch was suspended for Nationwide and Sprint Cup events at Texas Motor Speedway last fall after intentionally crashing Ron Hornaday in a Camping World Truck Series event at the track. In 2007, Robby Gordon was suspended from a Pocono Cup race for failing to serve an on-track penalty in a Nationwide event at Montreal.
In 2003, Jimmy Spencer was suspended for a race at Bristol after punching Kurt Busch following an event at Michigan. In 2002, Kevin Harvick was suspended from a Cup event at Martinsville Speedway for what NASCAR viewed as deliberately crashing another driver in the Truck Series race a day earlier.
Busch, a 24-time winner on NASCAR's premier circuit who split from Penske Racing after last season, currently drives the No. 51 Cup car for Phoenix Racing. Last Saturday at Dover, he drove the No. 54 Nationwide entry owned by his brother's organization, Kyle Busch Motorsports. There was no immediate word whether Phoenix Racing would put another driver in the No. 51 for this week's activities at Pocono, which include a two-day test on the new racing surface.