Car owner Gene Haas says he does not know if or when NASCAR will reinstate Kurt Busch, but once Busch is reinstated, Haas wants to know if the driver will be eligible for the championship.
“At this time that’s really up to NASCAR,’’ Haas said after Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “Some of our concerns are, obviously, if he does come back, can we get in the Chase? But those issues really now kind of reside with NASCAR.’’
Busch, who has missed the first three races of the season, would need a waiver from NASCAR to be eligible for the Chase upon his return.
Section 188.8.131.52.a of the Sprint Cup Rule Book states that “Unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR, driver(s) and car owner(s) must start all Championship Events of the current season to be eligible for The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. If a starting position was not earned, then the driver(s) and car owner(s) must have attempted to Qualify for the Race.’’
Last year, NASCAR granted a waiver to Denny Hamlin when he missed a race at Auto Club Speedway with metal in his eye. Hamlin was among the four drivers racing for the championship last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR also granted Tony Stewart a waiver when he missed three races last season after he struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race Aug. 9 in New York. Stewart did not win a race to use that waiver for the Chase.
NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch two days before last month’s Daytona 500 when a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not” that Busch committed an act of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend in September.
The Delaware Department of Justice stated last week that it would not seek charges against Busch because “the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident.”
NASCAR confirmed last week that Busch had signed NASCAR’s terms and conditions for consideration of reinstatement.