CONCORD, N.C. — Kurt Busch was on his best behavior for the first 10 races of the season, but the emotional meltdowns that led to firings at Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing returned in the closing laps of last Saturday night’s race at Darlington Raceway.
Busch was fined $50,000 Tuesday by NASCAR and placed on probation until July 25 after he sped through Ryan Newman’s pit stall at the end of the race and running into Newman’s car on pit road after the race.
Busch was running in the top 10 in the final 10 laps when his Chevrolet bounced off the third and fourth turn walls. Busch made a late pit stop for a flat tire, and he did a burnout through Newman’s pit stall while leaving the pits while several of Newman’s crew members were still on pit road.
Busch told Newman after the race he accidentally ran into him because he was taking his helmet off and not paying attention.
After the race Busch rear-ended Newman on pit road while NASCAR officials battled to separate both crews.
PASSING FANCY: Starting this week, there will be several changes to cars to make passing easier.
The side of the cars will be raised by one inch to allow more air under the car – and reduce aerodynamic downforce. Air deflectors used at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway will be used at California Speedway, Michigan Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
ROLE REVERSAL: Carl Edwards loves plenty of things about NASCAR’s All-Star week. One of his favorites, though, is seeing his crew members in the spotlight instead of himself.
Edwards’ No. 99 team is among 24 Sprint Cup crews competing in the eighth NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge in Charlotte, N.C., tonight. Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 crew enters as two-time defending champions.
“It’s cool for the drivers,” said Edwards, who plans to cheer on his crew at Time-Warner Cable Arena.
“We get to show up and watch our guys perform and the pressure’s not on us, it’s on them. That’s neat to see everything kind of turned upside down.”