Sadler had every reason to explode in anger Friday, unleashing a storm of expletives in Logano’s direction. Instead, he offered a measured response that redefined the boundaries of composure and self-restraint.
"It's just a shame, man," said Sadler after the crash. "You just don't bump-draft every place you go, especially not at a place like Darlington. I'm out here fighting for my life to be a part of this sport. It's heartbreaking."
Fast-forward to the final laps of Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Bojangles Southern 500,” when a cut a tire on his James Finch-owned Chevrolet caused former series champion Kurt Busch to spin out of his spot in the Top-10. Upset with his turn of bad luck, Busch unleashed a torrent of foul language on his in-car radio while en route to pit road. Once repairs were completed, he “burned out” through Ryan Newman’s adjoining pit box -- an area occupied by members of Newman’s over-the-wall crew and at least one NASCAR official – reportedly forcing them to scramble out of harm’s way.
After the race, Busch hit Newman's Chevrolet from behind on pit road, triggering a shoving match between his team and Newman’s already angry crew. During the skirmish, a NASCAR official either fell or was pushed across the hood of Busch’s car.
"Kurt blew a fuse again," said Newman to SI.com's Dustin Long after the race. "I think the chemical imbalance speaks for itself. Kurt drilled me in pit lane and said he was taking his helmet off and didn't see where he was going. I'm pretty sure there were 42 other guys that are taking their helmets off… for the last 10 years, and that's the first time that's happened to me. Circumstances, I think, are he lied and was so frustrated that he doesn't know how to deal with his anger."
Busch did not comment after the race, and has not done so since. He reportedly plans to address the media Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but whatever explanation he offers will likely be too little, too late. After repeatedly stating that his 2012 season would be “all about having fun,” Busch encouraged fans, media members and fellow competitors to judge him on his actions this season. Many believed it was only a matter of time until the 2004 champion blew his top once again, and it took just three months for Busch to prove them right.
Kurt Busch remains one of the best pure drivers in all of NASCAR. On that count, even his most fervent detractors will defer. Unfortunately, a volcanic, unpredictable temper also comes as part of the package. That temper cost him a pair of championship-caliber rides at Roush Fenway and Penske Racing in recent seasons; relegating him to the underfinanced Phoenix Racing team, where he labors today.
His stated goal for 2012 was to prove that he could get along with his team, his competitors and the media, both on and off the race track.
Saturday night, Busch fell far short of that goal.