Originally created 10/07/04

Mouth moves Little E into 2nd

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Kurt Busch zoomed into the lead of the Nextel Cup Series standings on Tuesday without turning the key on his Ford Taurus.

And while he said NASCAR had to be consistent with its penalties for profanity, he'd rather beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the track instead of a corporate office.

"We can get into the specifics of it if we want, but I want to say that we want to beat the 8 car (Earnhardt Jr.) out on the racetrack and not with the penalty," Busch said.

Earnhardt Jr. won last Sunday's race at Talladega, Ala., but he used profane language during his post-race interview in Victory Lane. NBC had to apologize for his language, and NASCAR warned the third-generation driver his comments were under review.

On Tuesday they fined Earnhardt Jr. $10,000 and docked him 25 points in the Chase for the Championship, moving him from a 13-point lead over Busch to a 12-point deficit.

The penalty mirrored sanctions against Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter earlier this year when he used the same word during a radio interview.

Busch said he hopes he has a big enough lead at the end of the season where 25 points won't matter.

Earnhardt Jr. won't accept the penalty without a fight. The company founded by his father issued a statement late Tuesday that it would appeal NASCAR's punishment to the National Stock Car Racing Commission.

To do that, DEI must file its appeal by Oct. 15. After that, a hearing will be held with at least three of 31 members of the commission. That panel, however, rarely rules in favor of drivers.

"Dale Jr.'s comment was made in the excitement of the moment, seconds after he climbed out of the car," said Richie Gilmore, director of competition at DEI. "It wasn't made in anger or hostility directed at anyone. The whole incident is going to force everyone in the sport to rethink showing any excitement in what should be a jubilant moment."

PIT STOPS: Indy car driver Sarah Fisher might drive a Busch Series car before the end of the season, car owner Richard Childress said.

"I'm hoping to advance her career," Childress said. "I think she has a lot of talent and I can't wait to see her run in a stock car."

  • NASCAR suggested it might eliminate the final practice session - called Happy Hour - on Saturday at some races next year.

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