DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch until June 13 for violating his probation when he had an altercation with a member of the media this past weekend at Dover International Speedway.
Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion, has been banned from competing in next weekend's race at Pocono Raceway. He is in his first season as driver of the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing.
According to a release from NASCAR on Monday, Busch violated Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book.
Last month, NASCAR fined Busch $50,000 and placed him on probation until July 25 following his actions in the 500-mile race at Darlington Raceway. The sanctioning body penalized Busch for "reckless driving on pit road during the race" and for being "involved in an altercation with another competitor (a crew member with Ryan Newman's team) after the completion of the race."
The incident at Dover occurred when Busch made threatening comments to a reporter from The Sporting News. The reporter, Bob Pockrass, asked Busch if his probation impacted how he raced Justin Allgaier during last Saturday's 200-mile Nationwide Series race at Dover.
Busch and Allgaier had a heated discussion on pit road after the race. The two made contact with each other multiple times in the early going. Busch was driving the No. 54 Toyota, which is owned by his younger brother, Kyle.
Caught on tape by Speed television, Busch responded to Pockrass' question, saying, "It refrains me from not beating the (expletive) out of right now, because you ask me stupid questions. But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well. If you could talk about racing things, then we can talk about racing things, Bob...It is not racing. You're in this just to start stuff. That's all you're out here for."
NASCAR also noted that Busch's probation has now been extended through the remainder of the year.
Busch has apologized for the incident.
"I accept NASCAR's decision," he said in a statement. "I put them in a box. They had to take action, and it's my fault for putting them in this position. I apologize for the comments I made to Bob Pockrass."
Busch has been penalized by NASCAR three times within the past seven months.
Last November, his inappropriate hand gesture and use of foul language while waiting to be interviewed by an ESPN reporter during the season-ending race at Homestead, FL led to a $50,000 fine from NASCAR. He was also dismissed from Penske Racing, where he had been with since the start of the 2006 season.