Busch fined for gesture and tirade

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kurt Busch's adventurous final race day Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway has produced yet another negative reaction.

NASCAR took the unusual action of announcing a major fine against Busch Friday, saying Busch's actions during the Homestead race will cost him a $50,000 fine.

Busch made an obscene hand gesture — caught by an in-car camera — after his transmission blew early in the Ford 400. A few minutes later, while waiting to be interviewed by television reporter Jerry Punch, Busch unleashed a profanity-laced tirade at Punch and his camera crew, ultimately leading Punch to walk away without doing the interview.

"Kurt Busch showed disrespect toward a media member, an incident that followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season," NASCAR said in a statement announcing the penalty.

Although it is rare for NASCAR to fine a competitor for a confrontation with news media representatives, the NASCAR release announcing the fine included the fact that Busch's encounter with Punch "followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season."

Those included actions at the second Richmond race, where Busch had to be restrained from going after a NASCAR.com reporter and later took an interview transcript from another reporter and tore it in half.

After the incident with Punch, which was videotaped and seen by thousands on the internet, Busch and his Penske Racing team issued apologies.

"Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team," Busch said. "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."

Penske officials said earlier this week that Busch's "inappropriate actions" were being reviewed internally.

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