Busch goes berserk, lands in hauler

Updated: May 8, 2005, 2:39 AM ET
Associated Press

DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Kurt Busch hit the wall on the first lap at Darlington Raceway. Then he hit an official with a water bottle, bad-mouthed NASCAR over his radio and ended up in a closed-door meeting with series officials.

"His actions were certainly not befitting of a champion,'' NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said after the Dodge Charger 500. "He said things that are not fit for print.''

Busch, the defending Nextel Cup champion, finished 37th on Saturday night and dropped two spots in the standings to fourth. He now trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 229 points.

Busch knew it was going to be a bad night seconds after the race began. He had started 11th, but didn't even get a full lap in before he spun out coming out of the fourth turn and hit the inside retaining wall.

He took the No. 97 Ford into the garage so his crew could make enough repairs for Busch to continue racing.

Later in the race, NASCAR said Busch moved into the wrong position on the track under caution. Officials ordered him to stop and get in line where he was supposed to be, but Busch refused.

He was sent into the pits for a two-lap penalty, and NASCAR officials took offense to the language he used over the radio. They ordered him to turn his engine off, and he responded my revving it.

He also tossed a water bottle out of his window that hit the official in his pit.

Busch was then summoned to meet with NASCAR after the race. Although series officials looked less than pleased with the champion, Busch emerged from their hauler with a huge grin on his face, but nothing to say.

"What a great race,'' he grinned. "You guys see that race? It was great.''

This is not the first time NASCAR has had to punish Busch. He was penalized in Charlotte several years ago for cursing at officials over his radio. And he was punched in the nose by Jimmy Spencer two years ago after the two had contact on the track, and when Spencer confronted him after the race, Busch taunted him.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press