NASCAR fines Kyle Busch for gesture

November 10, 2010

Kyle Busch  was fined $25,000 by NASCAR on Tuesday for his obscene gesture, and the driver again apologized for losing his temper.

Busch was also placed on probation through Dec. 31 – the same day as his wedding – for what NASCAR called unsportsmanlike conduct in Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I lost my cool, plain and simple,” Busch said in a statement. “It’s not acceptable, and I know that. I apologize to NASCAR, its fans, all the partners who support Joe Gibbs Racing, and all the people who work so hard to give me a racecar that’s capable of winning races every week. All of those people deserve better from me, and I owe it to them to keep my emotions in check.”

Busch was penalized for speeding at Texas and called into the pits to serve a one-lap penalty. While sitting in his car, he held up his middle finger toward the NASCAR official standing in front of his Toyota ( TM – news – people ).

The in-car camera caught the gesture, and it was broadcast live before ESPN realized what Busch was doing. The network apologized and cut away from the shot.

NASCAR immediately penalized Busch an additional two laps and ordered crew chief Dave Rogers to get the driver under control.

It led to a testy exchange between driver and crew chief, with Busch arguing that NASCAR was denying his right to free speech.

“They’re going against the constitutional rights for everybody,” Busch yelled over his radio.

Rogers implored Busch to shut his mouth and serve the penalty.

“Kyle, stop, please!” Rogers told him. “We all work too hard for this! You’re costing us. Bring it to pit road, park it for two laps.”

Busch was unable to recover from the sequence and finished 32nd, two laps down. He apologized immediately after the race for his latest blowup, and reiterated it following Tuesday’s fine.

“I accept NASCAR’s penalty and realize what I did during Sunday’s race at Texas was inappropriate,” he said. “Even in my relatively short time here in NASCAR, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Sometimes that passion has allowed me to find that little something extra I needed to win, and other times it’s made me cross the line. Sunday at Texas was one of those days.”