Kyle Busch felt the sting of his angry toss in his wallet Wednesday, when NASCAR fined him $50,000 for throwing a safety device at Casey Mears' passing car.
Busch was also docked 25 driver points and put on probation until the end of the year, and car owner Rick Hendrick was docked 25 championship points.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday June 03, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Soccer: In Thursday's Sports, a Newswire item said Saudi Arabia defeated Turkey, 1-0, in a World Cup warmup match. In fact, Turkey won, 1-0.
The monetary fine ties several others for second-highest in NASCAR history, behind only the $60,000 that Ray Evernham was fined in 1995.
It signifies that NASCAR is running out of a patience with the 21-year-old Busch, who overreacted when Mears accidentally wrecked him late in Sunday's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. The two were running with the leaders when Mears bobbled, hit the wall, and bounced into Busch's car.
As two NASCAR officials tried to help Busch take the mandatory ride to the care center, Busch tried to break free from them to get at Mears' car. He then feebly threw a safety device, which missed its target, before being pulled off the track surface.
In penalizing him, NASCAR said Busch "disobeyed a directive from a NASCAR official, entered the racing surface without authorization and threw an object at another competitor's car during the event."
Busch was contrite Wednesday.
"I lost my composure and disrespected NASCAR, especially its officials, and put my own team in a difficult position," he said. "The bottom line is I made a mistake that's a poor reflection on everyone I care about and there isn't anything that justifies it."
Busch is having a rocky second season in NASCAR, with a pair of run-ins with two-time champion Tony Stewart and a previous incident with Mears.
The latest one has convinced Mears that Busch needs to grow up.
"Kyle got caught up in a mess that really wasn't his fault," Mears said. "I can understand that he would be upset, but he definitely way overreacted."
Mears, who like Busch was contending for the victory, damaged his car and wound up 23rd. The two had an earlier altercation at Phoenix in April when Busch retaliated for previous contact by hitting Mears' car under a red flag.
Meanwhile, NASCAR also penalized Jeremy Mayfield's team for failing inspection after the race. Mayfield's car was too low, resulting in a $35,000 fine for crew chief Ted Andrews and the loss of 25 driver points for Mayfield and 25 championship points for car owner Evernham.
Reporters Challenge Bonds' Leak Subpoena
The two reporters who disclosed allegations of steroid use by the San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds should not be forced to testify before a grand jury, their lawyers argued in papers filed in San Francisco.
The reporting by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams forced drug reforms in Major League Baseball, triggered congressional hearings and was praised by President Bush.
They were subpoenaed earlier this month by federal prosecutors trying to learn who leaked transcripts of testimony before a grand jury that eventually indicted five people, including a trainer of Bonds, for giving anabolic steroids to athletes.
The Chronicle ran stories based on the grand jury material, including admissions of steroid use by former world record-holding sprinter Tim Montgomery.
The reporters face the prospect of a citation for contempt of court if they refuse to identify their source or sources, according to their lawyer, Eve B. Burton.
"Reporters should never be compelled to reveal their confidential sources for truthful reporting on a matter of substantial public concern," Burton said.
A Phoenix Suns fan has accused Cassandra Johnson, the wife of Dallas Mavericks Coach Avery Johnson, of assaulting her in the stands during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday at US Airways Arena.
Rebecca Kettle told police that Cassandra Johnson hit her twice in the shoulder during a confrontation. According to a police report, an officer read Johnson her rights before questioning her.
Johnson acknowledged arguing with Kettle but denied making any physical contact, the police report said.
Phoenix police said the case would be turned over to the city prosecutor to decide if any misdemeanor charge should be filed.
Kettle was ejected from the game, along with her boyfriend Jose Martinez, after she made an obscene gesture.
Arbitrator Rules for McNair in Workouts
The Tennessee Titans must let quarterback Steve McNair work out on their property as long as he has a contract with the team, arbitrator John Feerick ruled.
Feerick heard more than seven hours of testimony May 16 on charges that the Titans breached McNair's contract by barring him on April 3 from working out at the team's headquarters. The union filed the grievance, arguing he should be allowed to work out on the property or be released.
Titans general counsel Steve Underwood said he believed the decision reflected some quirks of Tennessee state law but did not find that the team violated the league's collective bargaining agreement.