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Will Kurt Busch be punished(openly or privately) for tirade against ESPN reporter?

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

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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24 Responses to “Will Kurt Busch be punished(openly or privately) for tirade against ESPN reporter?”

  1. KoHoSo Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Not only was the object of Kurt’s tantrum aimed at “someone whose job it is to get the word out to the rest of the world about NASCAR,” it was at Dr. Jerry Punch. I cannot say for sure but I’d lay good money on Punch being considered by 99% of all fans as one of the most esteemed members from any form of the NASCAR media. Then again, considering how selfish Kurt is, it could have been Mother Theresa waiting to interview him and it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.

    Maybe I’m looking at the past with rose-colored glasses, but I sure don’t remember any of the “black hats” of NASCAR’s past acting like a total jackass to the media. In a just world, not only would NASCAR announce a fine on Kurt followed by him having to apologize in public, but it would also come with 80 hours of mandated community service working with the type of people Dr. Punch treated in his work as a trauma surgeon. Maybe then Kurt would realize that having to wait a little bit for an interview to be cued isn’t such a big inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.

  2. Charles Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I dont condone Kurts actions at all!!!!!!

    But has he done anything our new champion Tony Stewart hasnt!

    Seems Stewart who in the past on T.V when in a tirade about Goodyear, the at Indy he had issues with a reporter! Remember very well him clombering Kenny Irwin sitting in a race car!

    Know sooner than the first of the year, Tony Stewart had hit a track offical in Austria, said to have knock the Austians eye out of socket and Stewart was detained!

    Thus nobody likes actions like these, hopefully Stewart and Kurt Busch will get their act together, but the penalty should be in the same thing Tony Stewarts!!!!

  3. Gene Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    It seems like Kurt was in a bad mood due to dropping out of the race early….. but, he still agreed to an interview (an interview that was essentially meaningless to the race action) then Busch was made to wait over 10 minutes for espn to get their act together. I’m on his side. Why couldn’t espn tape the interview as Busch suggested? They do it all the time. Many drivers would have holed up in their haulers, not waited around 15 minutes for espn to get it together.

  4. Russ Edwards Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Its actions like this that reinforce the perception of drivers being pampered prima donnas. This does more to damage the sport than virtually any of Nascar’s faux pauxs.

  5. Bill B Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 7:31 am

    The never ending bad behaviour of both Busch brother just makes me question what a terrible job their parents did in teaching them how to be decent human beings.

  6. JT Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I agree with Gene, ESPN could have taped this interview and inserted it at any time in the race. But that does not excuse Kurt Busch’s crude and rude behavior.

    What is interesting to me is that normally, NASCAR is very strict about protecting their broadcast, video and electronic copyrights. Yet this viral (supposedly amateur) You Tube video was listed as being “NASCAR Licensed”.

  7. Sue Rarick Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I have to side with Kurt. I’ve been interviewed (well they tried) after having put on what I considered a bad performance and let’s say the ‘F’ word was the predominate one I used. Was that a good thing… absolutely not. But most people don’t do their job in public, so don’t know how wound up you can get. There are a lot of public performers (that includes race drivers) that are happy they had their temper tantrums before iPhones.

    NASCAR will probably hand out a secret fine. Everyone will say how sorry they are. And the press will go overboard because Dr. Punch was one of their own. And life will go on.

  8. Glen H Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Kurt Busch was out of line. That said, I’m also going to put a little of the blame on ESPN.

    If you’re going to do a live interview, do the live interview. Don’t make the person that you are going to interview stand around for 10-15 minutes or more waiting until it’s convenient for the guys in the booth to toss it to the pits.

    Just how long did ESPN expect Busch to stand around waiting? 20 minutes, half an hour? I mean, really, how hard is it to squeeze in 15-20 seconds to talk to the driver and let him go on his way?

  9. Justin Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Hahahaha, wow, I am soooo shocked that Kurt Busch did this, it is soooo unlike him, LMFAO. Both of the Busch brothers have a world of talent, but they are both first class A holes. Their fans can apologize for them all they want, and make any excuse they want, but 99% of their actions is completely out of line, and stupid at best. Neither has the ability or maturity to do an interview. It isnt Dr Punch’s fault the tranny broke (might be Addington’s though, LMFAO). Kurt always takes out his anger and frustration on the wrong people. grow up, do the interview, and then go into a tirade at your team. Plenty of angry drivers do interviews, and they cut it short, you can tell they are angry, but they do it with respect for the interviewer. Dr Punch didnt wake up on Sun and think, man, I hope I get to interview an angry Kurt Busch…

  10. mr clause Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 10:44 am

    What I find totally amazing is that NASCAR is actually providing the excuse for Kurt’s actions as being in the heat of the moment and his disappointment at being forced out of the race. NASCAR brags on it’s parity yet that doesn’t seem to reach their punishments. If what Childress did was detrimental to the sport and worth $150,000 then Kurt’s disrespectful rant has to be worth double. Just how much is going to be allowed the Busch babies by NASCAR. Also it was notable that there was a Dodge rep standing right there and did nothing. Fine BK and then excuse Kurt for something much worse? NASCAR has become little more than a manure spreader rolling over a field stinking the field.

  11. midasmicah Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 10:49 am

    While I don’t condone Busch’s actions, why do the media have to get in a drivers’ face right after he’s knocked out of a race after three laps. Then to make him wait for ten minutes.

  12. Larry Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Folks, If Busch didn’t want to do the interview at that time he should have said I need to go to my hauler for a break and I will get back with you later. Several times this year I have seen this done by other drivers so I don’t think that would have been looked on as unusual. But, what he did was completely unprofessional and completely uncalled for. And, there are reasons why Roush and Hendrix fired these two idiots while Penske and the good christian man Gibbs put up with their antics. Tells a lot about their car owners doesn’t it? And, don’t even get me started on how their parents raised or didn’t raise these two brats.

  13. Larry Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 11:43 am

    And, another thing about the Busch Boys and Nascar and car owners. A lot of the trouble with Kurt and especially Kyle are the direct results of Nascar and the car owners and sponsors of letting them get off with little or no meaningful punishment for past events. As I have said before what is a $25,000 or $50,000 fine to a guy making probably in excess of $10,000,000 a year? We all know the answer to that. Even probation doesn’t mean a whole lot either. If you want to get Kyle under control he should have been put on probation for the entire year of 2012 but he will be off starting at Daytona and will be free to have another Kyle moment. Let’s just hope this time no one get seriously injured or killed because the blood will be on Nascar and the Owners Hand’s for not giving them any meaningful punishment.

  14. Taz Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Kurt and Kyle are to brothers that have hidden mental problems.They are sore loosers,curse out crew members but when Nascar bosses or sponsers step in its funny how they stare into the camera telling us through the tv how sorry they are to us and the sponsers. I think if both got stepped to for a one on one both would lose in a fight.

  15. Gene Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    From the previous comments:

    “total jackasses”… “pampered prima donnas”… “first class A holes”… “stupid”… “Busch babies”… “two idiots”… “brats”… “hidden mental problems”…. etc.

    How come almost every comment here that doesn’t like what Kurt Busch did includes name calling? You know, the same thing that Kurt did. Also, some have to drag brother Kyle and their parents into this incident that had nothing to do with them.

  16. Fredrico Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    the atitude of these rednecks makes it visible to the world why we have such long way to go in the country especialy south usa for equality. if me or one of my familia did this, your race fans would yell deport us even since i be here more han 20 years now and am legal. just glad it came out here, i hopes it to again next nobember!

  17. Dennis Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Fredrico, they are NOT from the South. They are from Las Vegas. Use of the term “rednecks” isn’t helpful and could be considered by some no better than calling others by racist names. I would expect someone who probably has endured some form of xenophobia to be a little more sensitive and restrained in the name calling.

    Now, back to the topic. I can understand Kurt being frustrated by both the transmission trouble and waiting around for an interview to happen. However, Kurt agreed to do the interview and the delay wasn’t Jerry Punch’s fault. If Kurt decided that he had waiting too long, he simply could have told Mr. Punch that he was no longer willing to do the interview instead of abusing him.

  18. Tony Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    True colors, Kurt B has obviously been to “coaches” trying to help him clean up his act, its so funny to see him “acting” like a decent guy. This is the real Kurt Busch, always has been.

    It is understandable to be upset at having to wait to be interviewed, but come on, attacking Jerry Punch is uncalled for, he is a friend to the drivers, a class act, and Kurt knows it.

    As for interviews after bad things on the track, its NASCAR, access to drivers is what sells and always has. Be ticked off, show it, cuss, cry, whine, whatever, but don’t attack a guy like Punch, that’s over the line.

  19. Tim Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I don’ care if the damn shifter came thru the floor boards and smacked him in his pointy little head, there is no acceptable reason for insulting Dr. Punch, or, anyone else in that manner. If Penske Racing had any courage they would kick his behind out and find a deserving driver for the #22 ride. The team morale would have to improve without his tirades during the race and their performance would more than likely pick up a few notches too.

  20. Larry Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Gene, most of the words used to describe the Busch Brothers or not nearly as vial as the words Kurt used. And, most of the words use to describe Kurt and even Kyle are mostly true. This two kids are so pampered they don’t even know how to appreciate what they have. Kyle got a little taste of it when he had to sit out a race but still don’t think what happen to Kyle will be enough to completely change him. In my opinion we have not seen the last of Kyle.

  21. Kevin Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Tony is a bigger jerk than Kurt. He wouldn’t take a picture with my 9 year old daughter at office depot at an autograph session in KY. I saw Kurt at the track and he was happy to talk and take pictures. Never wanted to see someone crash but sure wanted to see the 14 hit the wall at KY. Fans can act like selfish babies too!!

  22. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Rich, I have 2 Words that word fit Kurt and Kyle to a Texas T: Immortally Immoral! Believe me, I feel folks are terrified that these town Barneys get NASCAR Checks while other folks try to race for theirs.

  23. Terr Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Open letter to: Shell Pennzoil, Dodge & Penske:
    I am very disappointed in the behavior of the driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge, Kurt Busch. His actions this weekend on national TV and in the media are a disgrace. He made an obscene gesture captured on in-car camera. And five minutes later he mouthed-off unprofessionally to a seasoned reporter, Dr. Jerry Punch, apparently due to audio or technical difficulties preceding an interview. In my opinion he is all out of mulligans and I am tired of hollow apologies. As a paying consumer, I have had to reconsider my spent monies on any items attached to the Penske Corporation, Dodge, and Shell Pennzoil. I hope you strongly reconsider allowing Mr. Kurt Busch to pilot a vehicle carrying the colors of your corporations any longer. He is an embarrassment and a disgrace and is damaging your product’s images. There are plenty of other talented, gracious, deserving and capable individuals that would much better represent your products. Thank you. Terry in Delaware

  24. Dave Says:
    November 24th, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I am not at all surprised by this event from Kurt Busch. Both of these guys need to be removed not only from NASCAR, bet never be allow on any race track again. Kyle has wrecked several racers with obvious intent and violence. How long will it be before Kurt explodes on the track? Both of them are dangerous and sooner or later will injure another racer, or perhaps worse. I have been a fan of Kurt Busch for the past few years. But NO MORE. NO WAY, NO HOW, NEVER, EVER NEVER again will I support him. As part of the fallout from this event, I learned that he similarly verbally assaulted Jamie Little a few weeks ago, IIRC at the 2ns New Hampshire race. I do not remember of any event where Kurt has violently intentionally wrecked another racer like his brother has, but I am worried that it will happen, sooner or later. How much are these two juvenile delinquents going to get away with before they are removed from the race track? I have to question how their parents raised these 2 guys. I seriously doubt they had any more respect for other people than these two brothers have.