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Busch Loses Crew Chief; Prompts Team Apology

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, November 22 2011

Kurt Busch is first driver to make off season news. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Kurt Busch has gone through another crew chief and, apparently, has used up more good will on his Penske Racing team.

The team announced Tuesday that Steve Addington, which whom Busch has feuded during radio communication in races, will not return as Busch’s crew chief next season.

Penske Racing also issued an apology for a Busch run-in with ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday which was caught on amateur video and posted on YouTube.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the team said: “Penske Racing extends its apologies to Dr. Jerry Punch, our media partners and our sponsors and fans for Kurt Busch’s inappropriate actions in Homestead on Sunday,” the statement said. “These actions do not represent Penske Racing and are inconsistent with the company’s standards for behavior, respect for others and professionalism.”

In the video, Busch – who suffered damage to his car early in the season-ending Ford 400, can be seen and heard repeatedly cursing at Punch.

Busch also issued an ap0logy on Tuesday. It read:

“Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team. In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me. I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing , to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch.”

Addington was the second crew chief in three years to depart as Busch’s crew chief.

“Steve Addington is no longer with our organization,” Penske team President Tim Cindric said in a statement. “We appreciate the successes we experienced together and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

There have been media reports that Addington may be headed to Stewart-Haas Racing. Perhaps to replace Tony Stewart’s crew chief, Darian Grubb, who may be losing his job.

Asked about that Tuesday on a teleconference, Stewart said, “We’re looking at all of our options right now. After we get through with all the media obligations today, I’ll getting to back to the shop and we’ll sit down as a group and try to come up with a decision and figure out.

“We already know some options that are available, and we’ll try to sit down and see what we think is the best option and decision for the company.”

Busch also lost crew chief Pat Tryson after the 2009 season, when Tryson left Penske to work for Michael Waltrip Racing. He made his decision to leave right before the Chase began.

Busch won two races this year and finished 11th in the final Sprint Cup Series standings.

Busch won the the 2004 Sprint Cup championship while with Roush Fenway Racing, but departed a year later.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Tuesday, November 22 2011
One Comment

One Comment »

  • Jim Nickel says:

    If Roger Penske has any respect for the sport he has been in for so many years, should consider letting Busch go no matter the cost. He will be money ahead in the long run. I have so much respect for Mr Penske for what he has done for racing and the members of his teams that I know he would be better off without the Kurt Busch’s mouth being associated to his NASCAR team.