Kurt Busch fined, placed on probation

Updated: May 16, 2012, 5:21 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 and placed on probation until July 25 for his actions during and after Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.

NASCAR announced Tuesday that Busch received the penalties for reckless driving on pit road late in the race -- he sped through Ryan Newman's pit stall and came close to hitting several crew members -- and for bumping Newman's car on pit road after the race.

Busch's Phoenix Racing crew member Craig Strickler was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for interfering with a cameraman after the race.

Newman's crew chief, Tony Gibson, was placed on probation until June 27 for violating NASCAR's rule that the crew chief is responsible for actions of his team members.

Newman's gasman, Andrew Rueger, went after Busch on pit road after the race. He was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until June 27 for failure to comply with a directive from a NASCAR official.

Newman told SI.com after the race that the whole incident was the result of Busch speeding through their pit and endangering crew members.

"It's easy to say that Kurt blew a fuse again," Newman told SI.com. "I'm not sure why he did it and tried to run over our guys and NASCAR officials. And nobody is. I think the chemical imbalance speaks for itself. Kurt drilled me in pit lane and said that he was taking his helmet off, and he didn't see where he was going.

"I'm pretty sure there were 42 other guys that are taking their helmets off and doing whatever for the last 10 years, and that's the first time that's happened to me.''

The chemical imbalance Newman referred to was Busch's anger issues that resulted in a "mutual split'' with Penske Racing after last season and working with a sports psychologist on anger issues.

The split came after Busch was fined $50,000 after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in which he made an obscene hand gesture -- caught by an in-car camera -- after his transmission blew early.

Busch later unleashed a profanity-laced tirade at ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch.

Busch did not talk to reporters after Saturday's race.

"Circumstances I think are that he lied and was so frustrated that he doesn't know how to deal with his anger," Newman told SI.com.

Busch was not available for comment after the penalty. His public relations representative said on Monday that Busch's schedule was extremely busy this week and that he likely would address the issue on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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