Earlier today, Kurt Busch was suspended until June 13th and his probation was extended until December 31st. This was in response to a post-race interview he gave after the NNS race Saturday, where he verbally abused a reporter.
First, I have to applaud NASCAR. I didn’t expect them to come out and actually lay down the law, especially on a Monday.
My jaw dropped when this news came out, but it was definitely needed. After the Darlington incident, I wrote about how Kurt needed to redeem himself before it was too late, get rid of his anger before it got the best of him. Sadly, that ship has sailed.
I really don’t know how to feel about this punishment. It needed to be handed out, obviously, but . . . one race weekend? Slap on the wrist.
This issue started long before Dover or Darlington or Homestead last year. All the ranting and ripped-up transcripts hinted at a bigger issue. I don’t know what is really upsetting Kurt so much, but he needs serious help. There is an underlying issue that needs to be taken care of. Trust me, I write all of this with a heavy heart; Dover was most likely Busch’s last race.
Team owner James Finch came out and said he was looking for a replacement for the #51 for this weekend and possibly long-term, which was implied. This almost confirms what I predicted, but I’m not proud of it at all. Kurt has tremendous talent, but there’s a point where personal issues affect your driving. I believe this is one of those times.
Because of what Kurt has done in the past and recently, the penalties should’ve been greater. I also think he should be forced to sit on the pit box and watch someone else drive his car this weekend, just like his brother had to do at Texas last year. Maybe seeing someone else in the #51 will make Kurt realize something just isn’t right.
You can drive the wheels off a car, but that doesn’t control what comes out of your mouth. Is Kurt put under more scrutiny because of his temper? Possibly, but there are moments where you need to either walk away or respond with, “No comment.”