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NASCAR suspends former Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch for Pocono race following outburst at reporter

Kurt Busch Nationwide Toyota 2012

NASCAR has suspended Kurt Busch from next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Pocono after he verbally abused a journalist following the Nationwide Series race at Dover last Saturday.

The 2004 Cup champion threatened Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass while being interviewed, following an on-track clash with Justin Allgaier during the race in NASCAR's second-tier series.

Busch was already on probation following pitlane incidents at Darlington that also prompted a US$50,000 fine. Pockrass, one of NASCAR's most respected journalists, asked Busch if being on probation affected the way he handled the battle with Allgaier.

"It refrains me from not beating the shit out of you right now, because you ask me stupid questions," Busch responded. "But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well. If you could talk about racing things, we could talk about racing things, Bob."

NASCAR ruled that Busch violated his probation status, originally set until July 25 and he will now be under NASCAR's scrutiny for the rest of the year.

The former Penske driver, now driving for James Finch's Phoenix Racing team in the Cup, accepted the suspension and apologised to Pockrass through a statement.

"I accept NASCAR's decision," said Busch. "I put them in a box, they had to take action and it's my fault for putting them in this position. I apologise for the comments I made to Bob Pockrass."

Last weekend's outrage adds to previous ones from 2011 with members of the media, which may have contributed to him losing his drive with Penske.

Busch was recorded on video insulting ESPN pit reporter Jerry Punch at Homestead, while some hot-tempered exchanges on his radio communication during races also showed him struggle to manage his anger.

Phoenix Racing has yet to announce who will pilot their No. 51 car next weekend, following NASCAR's ruling.

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