DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kurt Busch will not drive in Sunday’s Daytona 500. The question is when will he drive in NASCAR again.
Bryan Moss, National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, refused to overturn NASCAR’s indefinite suspension of Busch on Saturday night. Moss’ decision is final and cannot be appealed within NASCAR’s jurisdiction. Earlier Saturday, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel denied Busch’s request to rescind his suspension.
The penalty stems from a Delaware Family Court’s action to grant Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, a protective order because of an altercation that took place Sept. 26.
“We are unhappy with the latest decision to deny our re-appeal, but we will continue to exhaust every procedural and legal remedy we have available to us until Kurt Busch is vindicated,’’ Busch’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement. “Along the way we intend to continue to call attention to the facts and witnesses that will shed light on Ms. Driscoll’s true character, motivations and history.”
A spokesman for Hardin told NASCAR Talk that they do not plan any immediate action, saying: “We await the (Delaware) Commissioner’s ruling on our appeal of the no contact order. We do not expect anything else before the Daytona 500.”
David Higdon, NASCAR spokesman, said that series officials will set “clear guidelines for (Busch’s) return.” Higdon declined to reveal what those would be but said Busch would receive those “very soon.”
Higdon said that NASCAR has ruled on this matter regardless of if the Delaware Attorney General seeks charges.
Regan Smith will drive Busch’s car in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Smith will start at the rear because of the driver change. Stewart-Haas Racing has not made an announcement on who will drive the car after this weekend.
NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Friday, a few hours after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not’’ that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend in September.
NASCAR ruled Busch was in violation of:
Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing.
Section 12.8: Behavior Penalty
The Behavior Penalty states that those in NASCAR have certain responsibilities and obligations. Those include: “Correct and proper conduct, both on and off the race track.” NASCAR also notes in its Rule Book that “a Member’s actions can reflect upon the sport as a whole and on other NASCAR members.”
Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, sought a protective order, alleging that Busch slammed her head against the wall in his motor home three times last September at Dover International Speedway.
Commissioner David Jones wrote Friday that “it is more likely than not that on September 26, 2014, (Busch) committed an act of abuse against (Driscoll) by manually strangling (Driscoll) with his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand against her chin and face, causing her head to forcefully strike the interior wall of (Busch)’s motor home, thereby recklessly causing physical injury to (Driscoll) and recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable apprehension of physical injury.’’