Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dancing With the Stars' recap: And the Mirrorball goes to ... KKKK

Crew chief Steve Addington has left Penske Racing and will take the same position with newly crowned NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, a person with knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY.

Steve Addington, left, visits with driver Kurt Busch in April at Richmond International Raceway. Addington will head to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012.

Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch - 2011 NASCAR Daytona Speedweek - Day 1
Steve Addington, left, visits with driver Kurt Busch in April at Richmond International Raceway. Addington will head to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012.
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The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced.

Addington had been Kurt Busch's crew chief at Penske and would replace Darian Grubb, who confirmed Sunday night that he was fired by Stewart in mid-October. After learning he would not return in 2012, Grubb led the No. 14 Chevrolet to three wins, a third, a seventh and an eighth in the final six races as Stewart collected his third title.

BLOG: Kurt Busch's tirade (explicit language)

Addington joined Penske before the 2010 season after spending two seasons working with Busch's younger brother, Kyle.

"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."

Busch, who won four races in two seasons under Addington, was facing additional heat Tuesday as a YouTube video surfaced in which he was seen berating ESPN reporter Jerry Punch at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch was taken out early in Sunday's Ford 400 with transmission issues and was waiting to be interviewed by Punch when he asked somebody off camera, "Can you get this mother------ out of my face?" The curses continued, and Punch eventually walked away.

Busch also was caught during the live broadcast making an obscene gesture as he drove his wounded Dodge into the garage.

Busch apologized in a statement, and blamed his behavior on his poor race. "I let my emotions get the better of me," Busch said. "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."

NASCAR called Busch's language in the video "disappointing," but noted the driver was frustrated because an early transmission issue had knocked him out of the race.

"Clearly, Kurt was frustrated with what happened with his car that early in the race, however his choice of language at the time was disappointing," spokesman Kerry Tharp said.

Penske Racing apologized in its own statement and said the incident was being reviewed internally.

"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."

ESPN said the network and Punch would have no comment.

Busch 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

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