Pending any potential reversal upon appeal of Kurt Busch’s indefinite suspension that was issued by NASCAR on Friday, Regan Smith will serve as replacement driver for Busch in Sunday’s 57th Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
Stewart-Haas Racing officials made that announcement Friday evening, hours after Busch’s suspension was levied by NASCAR. The suspension is due to domestic violence allegations that stemmed from a Delaware family court Commissioner’s finding in favor of a request for an order of protection by Busch’s former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll.
Busch’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, has said his client will “immediately” file an appeal of his suspension. A potential hearing could come between now and potentially on up until the green flag of the Daytona 500, which is slated to start shortly after 1 pm ET on Sunday.
The statement by Stewart-Haas Racing did not include any proviso of Busch getting back in his race car for Sunday’s race if the suspension is indeed overturned on appeal.
Smith is expected to speak to the media Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET, which is about 45 minutes before the final Sprint Cup practice in preparation for Sunday’s race takes place (from 10:30 a.m. ET to 11:55 a.m. ET.
Smith previously substituted for team co-owner Tony Stewart in the Cup race at Watkins Glen International racecourse last August 10, hours after Stewart was involved in a fatal sprint car wreck at a small dirt track in upstate New York.
Smith, who finished runner-up to Chase Elliott in last season’s Nationwide Series championship, will also race in Saturday’s season opener of the rebranded NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona.
If Busch fails to overturn his appeal, Stewart-Haas Racing officials are still considering options for another interim driver for next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.