August 18, 2003 | 3:15 P.M. EST
Spencer, who finished 12th in the Bristol spring event, will now be forced to sit out this weekend’s activities at Bristol Motor Speedway. Along with the suspension he was hit with a $25,000 fine.
"I will always protect myself and my race team," said Spencer. "We are going to appeal the penalty, and we are going to do so in accordance to the NASCAR rulebook."
According to Busch his Rubbermaid Ford ran out of gas coming into the garage area, and Jimmy Spencer ran into the back of his car. He was still in the car when Spencer approached him with obvious anger. Words were exchanged, but he was still strapped in his seat with his helmet off when Spencer struck him in the face.
"I appreciate that NASCAR has recognized that Jimmy's assault went beyond the level of a "racing incident," said Busch. "I have been concerned by media comments characterizing Jimmy's involvement with me as a "rivalry," "duel" or "fight" all which carry a connotation that I actively participate in this type of behavior. Our racing Sunday was hard and clean. NASCAR's fine and suspension demonstrate and acknowledge for me their agreement that this was a unilateral assault which required serious punishment and for that I thank NASCAR."
Jack Roush also intends to promptly file an appropriate appeal against the penalty given to Busch.
"It is incomprehensible to me that NASCAR used this incident to place Kurt Busch on probation," said Roush. "His only involvement in the "altercation" was to be the recipient of a blow struck by an individual that is twice his size. Drivers, as do others in the garage, often exchange heated words, and in my memory no one has even been penalized for words spoken in private to one another."
"This was a very unfortunate situation," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "Emotions are a part of every sport, NASCAR Winston Cup racing included. However, there is a fine line. In this instance, that fine line was crossed."