DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Stewart-Haas Racing has made contingency plans should Kurt Busch have to sit out because of legal issues, Tony Stewart said Thursday.
It’s the first time Stewart-Haas Racing publicly has acknowledged such plans for Busch, whose future remains clouded because of a domestic abuse allegation made by his ex-girlfriend. Busch has denied the accusation.
Patricia Driscoll alleges that Busch grabbed her face and smashed her head three times against the wall in his motorhome Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway.
Dover (Del.) Police sent its investigation to the state attorney general’s office in December, but no decision has been made on whether to charge Busch. A Kent County (Del.) judge has yet to rule in a protective order hearing brought by Driscoll. Closing arguments were last week. No timetable has been set for a decision to be made.
With cars on the track Friday at Daytona International Speedway, a decision by the state’s attorney general to seek charges against Busch could force NASCAR to react. Busch is scheduled to compete in Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited.
“We’re kind of waiting to see, but I’m very hopeful we don’t have to worry about it,’’ Stewart said Thursday at Daytona 500 Media Day. “I feel bad he’s in that situation right now, that they’re both in that situation. We have to be smart and we have a plan at least if it doesn’t work out for any reason.’’
Stewart did not reveal what those plans would be.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said series officials will react, if necessary, in regards to Busch.
“The only thing we want to do is, and this is important, we’ve got to let the facts come in,’’ France said last month. “There would be no reason for me or NASCAR or anybody else to get ahead of those facts given that they may change. Let’s let the facts come in, and if there’s something for us to react to, you can appreciate that we will be very careful and very aware of what the circumstances are.’’