By admin | November 22, 2011
By Richard Allen
It has come to light this season that NASCAR has been involved in the business of secretly fining drivers who stray from the company line. Criticizing penalties already levied or the latest in innovations can prove to be costly for the offending participants.
However, an incident from this past weekend’s Sprint Cup finale has been exposed that NASCAR may be looking to take action against, in one way or another.
In a YouTube video now making the rounds, the reason as to why there was never an interview conducted with Kurt Busch after his transmission broke in Sunday’s Ford 400 has been revealed. That video shows the agitated driver waiting not so patiently to be interviewed by ESPN pit reporter Jerry Punch.
Busch launched into an expletive laced tirade about having been made to wait for the interview. No real quotes can even be pulled from the exchange as so much of it would have to be deleted that none of it would be worthwhile for print.
Busch is quite well known for the same type of interactions with his crew chief(the departing Steve Addington) and even his famous boss, Roger Penske. That has no bearing on this particular situation. If his team wants to put up with that behavior then so be it. They have that option. If they want to punish him for that behavior then so be it. They have that option.
However, this was not an incident within the team. In this case, Busch went off on someone whose job it is to get the word out to the rest of the world about NASCAR. In such a public relations savvy organization as this sanctioning body, such an act will not set well with the powers that be.
So, will NASCAR decide to take punitive action against the 2004 Sprint Cup champion?
Kurt’s brother Kyle was recently dealt with harshly by the sanctioning body for an incident that happened on the track in competition. This is a matter that occurred in the garage area and not in competition so the line is somewhat blurred.
NASCAR has often refrained from disciplining drivers who act inappropriately off the track. However, this incident did take place at a speedway. And, as mentioned before, it involved a member of NASCAR’s highly prized television media. Those factors combined may prove to costly in one way or another for Kurt Busch.
For anyone who has seen the video, there is no doubt that Busch’s behavior is inexcusable. It puts the sport of stock car racing in a bad light and makes it look as if those who participate in the sport are a bunch of over-privileged prima donnas. Such publicity is something the marketing arm of NASCAR does not take kindly to.
Will Kurt Busch be punished in some way for his actions on Sunday? It is likely he will. Will anyone other than Busch or the leaders of the sport ever know about that punishment? Well, that is questionable.
Here is a link to video of the attempted interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsaBQq5D4Zg
Since the initial writing of this piece Penske Racing released the following statement:
“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. The 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.”
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