Kurt Busch has heated exchange

Updated: June 17, 2012, 10:40 AM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Kurt Busch's troubles with the media continued on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

Busch had a brief, heated exchange with ESPN reporter Marty Smith after Saturday's Nationwide Series race at MIS, a week after serving a one-week suspension for making threatening comments to Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass after the Dover Nationwide Series race.

Busch
Busch

Busch, on orders from Sprint Cup team owner James Finch, avoided talking to reporters upon arriving at MIS on Thursday. But when he finished third in the race won by Joey Logano on Saturday, he had to make a mandatory appearance in the media center.

As he waited to be interviewed, an MRN Radio pit reporter said on the live broadcast that Busch left the top-five area without interviewing.

Busch was told of the comment and replied, "That's what everybody says, don't they."

Busch then left the room to cool off. Several reporters, including Smith, with a camera crew, followed. Busch then told Smith to come over with his camera. When Smith got there, Busch said he wasn't doing interviews there, adding, "You ever hear of sarcasm?"

That led to a brief exchange during which Busch said, "You don't know how long I've been working on this."

Busch later returned to the interview room. His only comment on how it felt to return to the track after the suspension: "It was great to drive the car."

"It was a great finish, all in all," Busch added. "The restart before the final one, I was on the inside and went from third to eighth, and then the restart on the final one, I went from eighth back up to third."

NASCAR officials said Busch's exchange with Smith did not violate his probation, which was extended from July until the end of the season after the Dover incident.

Busch was placed on probation in May after a run-in with Ryan Newman on pit road after the race and for reckless driving on pit road during the race.

Busch was fined $50,000 last season after a profanity-laced verbal assault on ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch after his engine failed in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That led to what was described as a mutual split with Penske Racing.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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