Kurt Busch has been fired by Penske Racing, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Busch, the talented former Cup champ with a prickly personality, will not return to the team next season following a high-profile meltdown at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Observer said the news would become official on Monday.
The departure means Busch is without a ride for next season and will have very limited options for returning to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He's already burned his bridges with Ford (Roush Fenway Racing) and Dodge (Penske), and there seems to be no rides available at any other major team.
Busch told reporters in Las Vegas this week that he's recently started seeing a sports psychologist to deal with his anger issues, but it appears to have been too little, too late.
Crew chief Steve Addington departed Busch's No. 22 team for Stewart-Haas Racing at the conclusion of the season, and now the team will have a new driver, too.
The driver acknowledged sponsor Shell-Pennzoil was upset, but practically scoffed when a reporter asked Thursday if Busch thought his job was in jeopardy.
"As the sponsor is concerned, yes, they're agitated about what happened at Homestead," Busch said. "But looking forward, we can find better things."
Busch's departure will come as good news for drivers who are out of work, such as David Ragan, David Reutimann and Brian Vickers. But Penske could also give Sam Hornish Jr. another chance after the three-time IndyCar Series champion was bumped down to a part-time Nationwide Series schedule this season.
Most NASCAR fans will have a hard time mustering much sympathy for Busch. Though the driver was apologetic over his repeated clashes with the media and angry radio rants toward his team, he has mostly been regarded as one of NASCAR's most difficult personalities.
Now, that apparently has cost him a job.