Monday, August 18, 2003

POOR KURT FINALLY GETS HIS DUE! - Busch, Spencer clash in garage after race - August 18, 2003:

"Busch, Spencer clash in garage after race
By Lee Montgomery and Dave Rodman, Turner Sports Interactive
August 18, 2003
9:55 AM EDT (1355 GMT)
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- The feud between Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch flared up again in the garage area at Michigan International Speedway after Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400, with Spencer allegedly punching Busch while Busch sat in his race car.
Busch's car ran out of fuel, crew chief Jimmy Fennig said, as he tried to drive it back to his hauler after the race.
It stopped, interestingly, in front of Spencer's transporter.
Spencer then rammed Busch's rear bumper, causing the bumper to buckle. Spencer got out of his car and approached Busch, reaching through the window and allegedly punching Busch.
By the time Busch crawled out, crewmen from Spencer's team had surrounded the No. 97.
Busch waved and yelled at Spencer, and then walked to the NASCAR hauler. He did not appear to be bloodied. There were no other punches thrown.
Almost immediately, however, Fennig went to NASCAR officials.
'I want Spencer here right now,' Fennig said angrily. 'We're going to have a fight here.'
Later, officials brought Spencer and crew chief Tommy Baldwin to the trailer, where all parties remained for a closed-door session that included Busch, Fennig, car owner Jack Roush, NASCAR president Mike Helton and Winston Cup director John Darby and his crew chief.
Busch was the first to leave, but he didn't say much. Asked if Spencer hit him, Busch said: 'Ask Jimmy Spencer.'
. . .
Roush issued a brief statement outside the NASCAR hauler.

"Jimmy apparently - with witnesses; I did not witness it -- ran into the back of Kurt's car," Roush said. "That was after some contact and some exchange, with apparently being the aggressor as they went from the race track to the garage. Kurt says that his car ran out of gas; it stopped running.

"Jimmy then ran into him, and then came up and punched him through the window. There were words exchanged. I don't know what was said.

"We're going to let the authorities handle it, the local sheriff's office. They're taking statements from the drivers, since it was not on the race track, it wasn't during the event.

"Of course, it's primarily in Mike Helton's hands to decide what he needs to do with Jimmy after these repeated assaults that he's had, either on the race track or the rest of them."

Spencer and Busch have had a storied history. Last April, Busch bumped Spencer out of the lead and went on to score his first Winston Cup victory. Busch said the bump was a bit of payback from the Phoenix race the previous November.

At Indianapolis in August, Spencer punted Busch and said it was unintentional. Busch later called Spencer a "decrepit old has-been."

Busch was leading the race when he ran low on fuel and had to pit with one lap to go. Fennig said Busch ran out of gas in the garage area as well.

Fennig said he didn't know why Spencer was so angry at Busch.

"They rubbed one time down the straightaway, but everybody rubs," Fennig said. "It wasn't even enough to bend the fender or even take the Goodyear off the tire." "

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