Dr. Punch Moves On

(photo courtesy Jim Fluharty, NASCAR Illustrated)

After nearly three months since Kurt Busch’s profanity-lace tirade against ESPN reporter, Dr. Jerry Punch, one would think that there still might be some hard feelings between Busch and Dr. Punch.  If you think that is so, you would be very wrong!

“Kurt and I, we talked that next week and he sent me a lengthy email talking about how ashamed and embarrassed he was, and he knows that I’ve tried to be helpful, he knows he messed up. … He sent me this email and said he wanted my cell phone,” Punch said in a phone interview Monday. “I called him the night before Thanksgiving and we talked for a little while, and we went over a lot of the things, and we had some very frank conversation.

“I said, ‘Look, you’ve apologized, I’ve accepted your apology, now let’s move on. I wish you nothing but success on and off the race track next year.’”

Busch, who fell out of the season’s final race due to a mechanical failure, cursed at Punch and other ESPN personnel as he waited on ESPN to conduct a live interview outside his team hauler. As Busch waited, growing more angry, Punch decided to cancel the live interview. The incident was caught on camera by fans and spread on YouTube and other websites.

The decision to abort the interview was not an easy one.

“I know he was overwhelmingly disappointed and there were so many emotions flying around inside of him,” Punch said. “I just didn’t want to take a chance on him going on the air and embarrassing himself, his sponsor Shell, Roger Penske, people that I care a lot about. I never really even told our producer at the time because we were in the middle of covering the Chase. I just simply said, ‘This interview’s not gonna happen, it just can’t happen.’ To his credit, our producer said, ‘We respect your opinion.’”

This incident was the straw that broke the proverbial camels back.  Throughout most of the 2011 race season, Busch would blister his crew via the team’s radio.  Those Kurt Busch tirades were almost a weekly highlight on the various sports channels.  However, the profanity laced tirade that was specifically pointed at Dr Punch, and caught on video by an amateur photographer, was the icing on the cake that caused Penske Racing to terminate the contract!

In spite of being thrust into a negative light via the Homestead event, Dr. Punch wishes Kurt Bush all the success in 2012.  Additionally, Dr.Punch has moved on, and is looking forward to the 2012 Daytona 500.


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