Kurt Busch avoids penalties
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kurt Busch won't face further penalties for ignoring official requests to stop his car after a Lap 98 wreck at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR officials said Tuesday.
NASCAR parked Busch for the remainder of Sunday's Sprint Cup race because he drove away from the wreck with emergency workers still in the process of providing him and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet assistance, and because there was emergency medical equipment on the track.
Busch said he never heard NASCAR's repeated requests to stop because he'd taken off his helmet that contains radio communication equipment.
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"I got out of the car and surveyed the damage, saw that it could still roll so I jumped back in," Busch told reporters at Talladega. "That is the competitor in me, which is the desire that I have and that is what gets misconstrued all the time." Busch was leading at the time of the wreck that was caused when his car ran out of gas.
The 2004 Cup champion finished 39th in his final race for Phoenix Racing before moving over to the No. 78 at Furniture Row Racing to get a head start on the 2013 season.
"This is the way my life works," Busch said. "I am leading, I wreck, I run out of gas. I'm still that competitive guy that tried to get back in the race and now NASCAR is yelling at me because I don't have my helmet on and I'm trying to get it to the garage so the guys can work on it.
"Now I'm in trouble, now I have this little storm right here. This is my life. I'm not complaining. I put myself in a lot of these situations, but it's on to good things now moving forward. I got all the bad luck out of the way. This year has been a great year to test me in every way."
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Busch is on probation through the end of the year for verbally abusing a reporter in June. He also was suspended from the Sprint Cup race at Pocono.
He lost a top-tier ride at Penske Racing after the 2011 season when he unleashed a profanity-laced tirade at ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Meanwhile, Regan Smith will replace Busch at Phoenix Racing this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Smith was ousted from the final six races at Furniture Row to make room for Busch. Smith said he doesn't have a deal beyond Charlotte with Phoenix Racing.
Smith wrapped up his stint at Furniture Row with a season-best fifth-place finish at Talladega in which he survived the 25-car wreck on the final lap.
"My car got clobbered, but somehow I was able to drive it to the checkered flag," Smith said in his post-race release. "I need to look at replays to see how it all came about and how it all finished. Everything happened so quickly. What a wild ending."
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