Today, the 43-year-old Kurt Busch is considered to be somewhat of an elder statesman among the active drivers in NASCAR. As any longtime fan will tell you, though, that veteran's calmness and foresight took Kurt a long time to cultivate. Just 10 years ago, the 2004 Cup champion was brash, combative and had serious anger management issues.
Now, Busch wasn't the first NASCAR driver, and he definitely isn't the last, to become hostile during a post-race interview. We've already covered Tony Stewart's frequent spats with NASCAR reporters. Even Kurt's youngest brother Kyle has gone toe-to-toe with the media on more than one occasion. But, Kurt's battles with the press had a tendency to reach a boiling point fairly quickly, and often got him fined, suspended or both.
Here, we'll look at just four instances where Kurt Busch's temper got the better of him, and he took it out on a reporter.
Kurt Busch vs. Reporters in Post-Race Interviews
Kurt Busch vs. Bob Pockrass
On June 4, 2012, Kurt Busch's running of the Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway did not go his way. When a Busch brother has a bad race, they tend to let it show during the post-race interview. While Kyle's approach leans more in the passive and pouty direction, Kurt tends to be, shall we say, a little more direct in his approach.
To set the scene a little bit, Kurt and driver Justin Allgaier made contact during the race, which resulted in the the two racers having a verbal post-race confrontation.
Now, Busch was on NASCAR-sanctioned probation at the time, due to an incident with Ryan Newman back in May. In the post-race interview, reporter Bob Pockrass referenced the probation and asked whether it impacted how Busch raced Allgaier.
Busch's response? Fighting words.
"It refrains me from beating the s*** out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions," Busch told Pockrass. "But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say, as well."
Busch's outburst earned him a nine-day suspension.
Kurt Busch vs. Dr. Jerry Punch
The 2011 Cup Series season was a rough one for Kurt Busch.
He was having some problems with his team at Penske Racing, and he was struggling to churn out consistent performances, especially towards the end of the season. Busch had even been working with a sport psychologist during that time to work out "personal issues." Whatever those issues were, they all came to a head following the season-ending Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After Busch exited the race early after breaking a transmission, longtime broadcaster Dr. Jerry Punch attempted to ask Busch a few questions after the early exit. But, Kurt wasn't having any of it.
"Can you get this motherf***** out of my face?"
Punch eventually did get out of Busch's face, and the incident would prove to be seriously detrimental to Busch's career. He was fined $50,000 by NASCAR for his actions and was later released by Penske.
Not an ideal way to end a season, to be sure.
Kurt Busch vs. Jamie Little
Kurt Busch's short but fiery exchange with Jamie Little went down just less than two months before his ill-fated exchange with Jerry Punch.
During pre-race car inspections before the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, NASCAR had an issue with the rear-end housing on Busch's car. Busch was clearly heated over the delay caused by the penalty and took it out on Little when she asked if it was okay that she ask him a question while he was on the way to his car.
"Why the f*** do you think I would be OK? I gotta go get in my car," Busch responded. "NASCAR told me I gotta get in my car."
Kurt Busch vs. Jenna Fryer
What we have here is a classic case of "You Said This"/"No I Didn't" that has been the cause of more than a few racer versus reporter battles over the years.
For this specific instance, we head to the post-race press conference following the Cup race at Richmond International Raceway back in September 2011.
For her question, Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer referenced Busch's ongoing feud with Jimmie Johnson, alluding to Busch's alleged quote claiming that he was "inside Jimmie's head." Kurt denied saying it, and demanded to see proof. After the press conference wrapped up, Fryer showed Busch the physical transcript of his quote. He looked at for a second, and then simply tore it up.
To add further drama to the spectacle, just a couple minutes before the press conference, Busch actually had to be physically restrained from going after reporter Joe Menzer, after he asked about Busch's incident with Johnson.
Like I mentioned before, Kurt Busch sure has come a long way from his days of tearing up transcripts and threatening to beat up reporters.
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