- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kurt Busch is the Charlie Sheen of NASCAR.

Both have made a wreck of their careers.

The latest outrage from Busch got him barred from the trip to Pocono this weekend, giving him plenty of time to cut his grass, or clean out the garage, or fix that broken faucet. But the most worthwhile project on his to-do list should be figuring out how to stay on the track once he gets back on it.

In case you missed it _ which would’ve been hard, since the whole thing was captured on video _ NASCAR’s mercurial former champion had another of his all-too-familiar meltdowns, this time when asked a relatively benign question by a respected motorsports reporter who’s been around the garage for years. Busch answered with a none-too-subtle threat, and the governing body responded with what passes for a harsh penalty by its usually lenient standards.

Hey, Kurt, why don’t you sit this one out, came the word from NASCAR headquarters.

In fact, we insist on it.

“Actions detrimental to stock car racing … violation of probation … verbal abuse to a media member.”

Well, that about covers it.

At least give NASCAR credit for doling out a one-race suspension, since they are usually the kings of vague probationary periods that don’t amount to much of anything. But, since Busch already was on probation for behavior even more bizarre, the stock car suits should’ve leveled an even harsher sanction.

A half-dozen races would’ve been more appropriate, giving Busch a good chunk of the summer to consider what a jerk he’s been, time and time again.

Busch responded with a pseudo-apology through a public relations firm, but it may not be enough to save a job that was supposed to be nothing more than a fallback position to begin with. Not even halfway through their first season together, Phoenix Racing owner James Finch has just about had enough of the 2004 Cup champion _ and, really, no one can blame the boss.

According to Finch, Busch’s fiery impatience on the track has already caused him to wreck 14 cars this season, three of them beyond repair. For a low-budget team like Phoenix, that’s inexcusable. But it’s his behavior beyond the actual racing that is the biggest concern.

Busch, for all his talent, has simply become too much of a loose cannon for anyone to put up with. He can’t seem to get out of his own way.

“Here’s the deal: Quit wrecking the cars, get a good finish, be nice to people,” Finch told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday. “That’s not real hard to do.”

For Busch, it apparently is.

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