Kurt Busch is at it again.
The NASCAR driver has become as well-known for his fights as his racing, but it appeared things had come to a head last November. A profanity-laced tirade by Busch caught on camera resulted in the driver losing his job with Penske Racing. Busch struggled to find a team until his brother, Kyle Busch, offered him a spot on his team. After the incident nearly cost Kurt his career, the racer acknowledged his anger management issues publicly and said he had been seeing a sports psychologist.
Kurt Busch has raced incident-free this year, but that all came to an end this past weekend at Darlington Raceway during the Bojangles' Southern 500. Six laps from the end of the race, Busch was apparently angered by a move Ryan Newman pulled on the track that caused Busch's car to slide. The drama then unfurled on pit road, when Busch reportedly drove through Newman's pit box.
"It's dangerous enough doing normal pit stops," Tony Gibson, Newman’s crew chief, told the Washington Post. "When you come ripping through someone's pit box like that, [Busch] could have took out five or six guys, plus the officials, pretty easy. I don't know how someone didn't get run over. It's a miracle no one got hit."
Yet Busch wasn't done. After the race, the driver tapped his car into Newman's. Busch reportedly claimed he was taking his helmet off and didn't see where he was going. Soon enough, both pit crews were on the scene and the two teams got caught up in a brawl that caused one NASCAR official to be pushed onto the hood of a car.
"It's easy to say that Kurt blew a fuse again," Newman told Sports Illustrated. "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."
On Wednesday, NASCAR laid down the punishment for the drivers and crew members involved. Busch was fined $50,000 and put on probation until July, which will likely mean a suspension if another incident occurs. Busch's crew member Craig Strickler was also fined $5,000 for reportedly interfering with a NASCAR cameraman.
Newman's side didn't escape punishment. Gibson was placed on probation due to his crew's participation in the fight after the race. Another Newman crew member was given a $5,000 fine for directly disobeying a NASCAR official.
When it comes to incidents such as this, it's unlikely Kyle Busch will drop his own brother from the team, as Roger Penske did last year. That's especially true given Kyle's penchant for controversial incidents. In fact, it was just last year at Darlington that Kyle earned himself a suspension and $25,000 fine for fighting with Kevin Harvick on pit road.
Time will tell if Kurt Busch can change his ways and keep his anger under control, at least until his probation expires on July 25. Busch has not given a public comment on the incident.