On Friday, Kurt Busch learned the power of social media and YouTube when NASCAR fined him $50,000 for his actions during last Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR officials made it clear that the sanctioning body was not happy with Busch’s obscene gesture(displaying the middle finger during the ESPN broacast) and his abusive action toward respected ESPN pit reporter, Dr. Jerry Punch.
“Kurt Busch showed disrespect toward a media member, an incident that followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season,” NASCAR said in a statement.
Busch’s No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge broke a transmission on Lap 13.
“Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team,” Kurt Busch said in a statement that was released earlier this week. “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.”
Penske Racing and Shell-Pennzoil have both issued separate statements as well on the issue.
Penske Racing statement says ”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.”
Shell, who issued their statement Friday night, went on to say that “Shell and Pennzoil are disappointed with recent actions by driver, Kurt Busch, at the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race season. His actions are in no way consistent with the way we want our brands represented and we have expressed our disappointment and concerns directly to Penske Racing.”
This is the second time in three months that Kurt Busch has had to issue an apologize for actions towards media members. The first came at the end of the reguar season at Richmond International Raceway,Busch was being interviewed on pit road after the race and was asked a question by NASCAR.com’s Joe Menzer when Busch didn’t like the question and started to come towards Menzer. Busch had to be retrained by his crew. This is also the same race where Busch ripped up Jenna Fryer’s transcript after his post-race media availability.
NASCAR officials cited Busch’s media “confrontations” earlier in the season as a factor in his fine.