Kurt Busch takes blame for Phoenix penalty: ‘I broke a rule’

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Kurt Busch changed his stance Monday on the penalty that helped prevent him from advancing to the championship round of the Sprint Cup playoffs, conceding that NASCAR was correct.

The 2004 series champion went to Twitter to offer his side of the penalty that dropped him from the lead to nearly the rear of the field in the first five laps on the 1-mile oval.

Busch started second Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway but was black-flagged for a stop-and-go penalty after he beat pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson to the line at the green flag. Sprint Cup director Richard Buck had said in the prerace drivers meeting that such a maneuver would be illegal.

Busch had disagreed with the call Sunday, saying “I don’t think it was even a penalty” and adding “I had no reason to jump the start. I had 312 laps to race my way into a championship round. We won races this year, we sat on poles, and we did everything we could to work together as a team.”

Busch rebounded from the penalty to finish seventh in the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, which was shortened by rain to 219 of 312 scheduled laps. It was the latest of many twists for Busch in a season that began inauspiciously as the Stewart-Haas Racing driver was benched by NASCAR for three races because of a domestic violence allegation.