Busch offered 'mentoring' by sponsor

Controversial NASCAR ace Kurt Busch has been put on notice by sponsor Newell Rubbermaid, following "recent incidents and comments" in which the Roush Racing star was involved

Busch offered 'mentoring' by sponsor

NASCAR officials placed Busch on probation until the end of the season following his altercation with Jimmy Spencer at Michigan two weeks ago. Spencer punched Busch in the face while Busch was seated in his car in the garage following the race.

However, Busch was heard on radio during the race apparently making threats to damage Spencer's car. Audio from Busch's in-car camera also shows that he made other provocative comments immediately after the race, apparently provoking Spencer. Busch then won last weekend's race at Bristol - but only after punting Sterling Marlin out of the way, much to the displeasure of the 160,000 fans present.

Newell Rubbermaid has now arranged a meeting with Busch and Roush officials. "We arranged the discussion to express our disappointment, more closely align what we expect from the team in the future, as well as to confirm our commitment to them," said Eric Pinkham, company director of event marketing.

"Our relationship with Kurt and Roush Racing is strong. We will be taking an active role with Roush Racing in helping Kurt get guidance and working closely in developing a mentoring program. This program includes scheduled meetings with Roush team-mates and veteran competitors, so Kurt can learn from their years of racing experience, both on and off the track."

Busch is clearly talented, having won four races this season, yet even close associates say the youngster has some growing up to do.

Such direct interest from a sponsoring company recalls Home Depot's discipline of Tony Stewart after he punched a photographer at Indianapolis last year. Home Depot placed Stewart on probation and fined him $50,000, which was donated to charity.

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