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Busch Is Cited for Reckless Driving

November 13, 2005|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

AVONDALE, Ariz. — Kurt Busch, NASCAR's reigning Nextel Cup champion and no stranger to controversy, was cited for reckless driving after a confrontation with police Friday night near Phoenix International Raceway.

Busch, who on Saturday qualified 17th for today's Checker Auto Parts 500 at the raceway, was detained on suspicion of drunk driving after trying to avoid another car and running a stop sign about two miles from the track, a Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman told Associated Press.

Lt. Paul Chagolla said a deputy who stopped Busch smelled alcohol on the driver but that Busch refused to perform standard field sobriety tests. Busch did submit to a field breath alcohol test, disclosing the presence of alcohol.

Busch was driven to the raceway, where a sheriff's facility is located, to administer another breath test but the machine there failed. The deputy then cited Busch for reckless driving and the driver was released, Chagolla said.

When first stopped, Busch was argumentative and uncooperative, Chagolla said. The deputy that detained him then called for a supervisor.

"This is Maricopa County, and our streets are not to be used as raceways," Sheriff Joe Arpaio told AP. "He ought to confine his speeding to the racetrack."

"I regret the incident that occurred ... ," Busch said in a statement released Saturday night. "It is important to understand that this citation is not alcohol related. I want to apologize to the Maricopa County sheriff's department for my actions."

Busch, 27, has angered fans and run afoul of fellow drivers because of his aggressive driving and erratic behavior, which NASCAR officials have said was not "befitting of a champion."

The Las Vegas native was punched in the face by Jimmy Spencer for trying to deliberately wreck his car.

Kevin Harvick called Busch "an arrogant punk."

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