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NASCAR: Will Troublemaker Kurt Busch Ever Grow Up?

DOVER, DE - JUNE 02:  Kurt Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2012 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Luke KrmpotichContributor IIJune 18, 2012

Kurt Busch is a head case. Everyone knows it.

What everyone wondered after last year was whether or not he'd sober up after losing his plum ride with Penske Racing and being relegated to a B-level (at best) ride with Phoenix Racing—a team previously best known for creating a shocking win at Talladega in 2009 for Brad Keselowski, who, incidentally, now occupies Busch's former place as top dog at Penske.

Last Saturday at Dover International Speedway, Kurt Busch answered the question for us with a post-race, profanity-laced tirade against a pit reporter who was simply doing his job by asking Busch about an incident early in that afternoon’s Nationwide Series race.

Last week, NASCAR dropped the hammer on Busch. He was suspended for one weekend, and his probation was extended through the end of the year.

At first, his ride with Phoenix Racing appeared to be in jeopardy, as owner James Finch said he would be meeting with the troubled driver to discuss Busch’s future in the No. 51 car. For the time being, though, Busch's job appears to be safe, according to the Sporting News. But that could change with another blowup.

Seriously, what was Busch thinking? (A rhetorical question, I know. Obviously, he wasn't thinking.)

Consider the circumstances.

Busch was running in the Nationwide Series basically just for fun. There were no points at stake. He was already on NASCAR probation. He was running for his little brother's team.

What's more, Busch had little reason to blow his top.

He hadn't wrecked out of the race or anything close to it, having just wrapped up a top-five run. What was there to be so upset about?

Sometimes, Busch reminds me of a soccer mom who is unable to control herself from screaming at the refs from the stands when some call goes against her kid.

Doesn't Busch remember that it was him going off on a pit road reporter last November that finally proved too much for Mr. Penske to handle? But as they say, you can't teach stupid.

I’m not quite ready to completely give up on Kurt. But given how things have been going for No. 51 on the track this season (not well), my guess is that things will get worse before they get better.

A NASCAR Cup champion he may be, but don’t expect to find him gracing any Wheaties boxes in heroic fashion.

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