NASCAR's Kyle Busch on obscene gesture: 'I regret the mistake'
Kyle Busch said Friday he's yet to fully learn how to control his emotions on the race track but that it's not a factor in his inability so far to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
The 25-year-old Busch, known as "Rowdy" for his aggressive driving and brash personality, also reiterated that he made "a mistake" when he flashed an obscene gesture at a NASCAR official for several seconds last weekend at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch was angry about being hit with a pit-road violation and, as he sat inside his No. 18 Toyota, his gesture was caught on his in-car television camera. So NASCAR immediately slapped him with an additional two-lap penalty, ending his hopes for winning the race. NASCAR also fined him $25,000.
"I regret the mistake I made last week," Busch said before he and the other Cup drivers practiced for Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, the next-to-last race in NASCAR's Chase for the Cup championship playoff.
Busch is seventh among the 12 drivers in the 10-race Chase and a distant 339 points behind leader Denny Hamlin.
"There is a fire that has helped me to win the races that I've been able to win, but it's also cost me in some other times," Busch acknowledged. "I haven't learned exactly everything that I've wanted to learn yet about being able to control my emotions."
But Busch said "I'd have to disagree 100%" that his personality was "a cause for me not being able to contend for a [Cup] championship" because he won the title in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series last year "as the same person I am."
Busch's hopes for a Cup title this season effectively were dashed when he finished 21st at the third Chase race at Kansas and followed that with a 35th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana when his engine blew during the race.
"Just unfortunate circumstances," he said. "So it's not where this past weekend's events at Texas is what led us not being able to win this year's championship."
--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.
Photo: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch waits in the garage before practice Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images