First and foremost – if you have not seen the above video, please watch it.
Kurt Busch's 400th career race could not have gone any worse. On Lap 3 of the Ford 400, the driveshaft broke on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge, sending Busch to the garage for lengthy repairs. While in the garage Busch was asked for an interview by ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch in which the above confrontation ensued.
Kurt Busch issued an apology today. "Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team. 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,” said Kurt Busch in a released statement.
Penske Racing also stepped up, issuing a statement which read: “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. 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 with no further comment at this time.”
That all being said – what is wrong here? There are a couple ways to address this so bear with me.
You could argue that Busch was in the heat of the moment and just lost his cool. We know this happens often, drivers have microphones and cameras shoved in their face at the worst possible times. But, after all, that is part of the job requirement. He simply could have refused the interview; there was no need to be so rude and insulting.
This is a well-documented pattern with Busch, from earlier this season attacking Joe Menzer of NASCAR.com to just a few weeks ago ripping up the transcripts of Jenna Fryer as she pointed out something Busch said, as he repeatedly said he did not. When does someone step in? Roger Penske maybe should or even NASCAR should step up.
This behavior is a black eye on the other 42 drivers, NASCAR, Busch’s team, sponsors, the list is endless. NASCAR has cracked down on everything else so why not consider how the drivers treat the media? After all the media keep the sport and drivers a float, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.