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Ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch found guilty of fraud, tax evasion

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A jury found Patricia Driscoll, ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch, guilty on five counts of fraud, tax evasion and theft charges Friday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

Driscoll, former executive director and president of the Armed Forces Foundation, was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud (federal offenses), two counts of tax evasion (federal offenses) and one count of first-degree fraud (a District of Columbia offense).

The wire fraud charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. Tax evasion carries a statutory maximum of five years. First-degree fraud carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison.

A jury made its decision after four days of deliberations.

Sentencing is scheduled for mid-March 2019.

Driscoll’s attorney, Brian Stolarz, stated to NBC Sports: “The jury did not get it right – Patricia Driscoll is innocent. We are very disappointed by the verdict and the government’s misconduct in this case. We will appeal. This is not the final chapter to this story.”

The wire fraud charges stem from a May 2015 indictment in the joint IRS-FBI investigation that she used forged documents, false accounting entries and inflated donation amounts “in order to convince donors to give money to the (Armed Forces Foundation), thereby enriching herself.”

The tax evasion counts stem from the May 2015 indictment that she diverted funds from the Armed Forces Foundation to her personal bank account, diverted funds from the AFF to her business, used AFF money to pay personal bills and bills for her business. The tax evasion charges are for tax years 2012 and 2013.

The fraud charge in the May 2015 indictment stated she purported to approve “an additional $3,000 per month payment to herself, to pay for such items as her car, gas, cell phone.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia stated Friday that “she failed to include the fact that she received commissions from fundraising, the amounts of commissions that she received from fundraising, and the other benefits that she received. Driscoll also falsely categorized and caused others to falsely categorize expenses in the Armed Forces Foundation’s books and records as being for the benefit of the veterans, troops, and their families, when, in fact, they were for her own private benefit. Driscoll also concealed from the foundation’s accountants the money she took from the charity, such as rent that was paid for the use of office space in a building that she co-owned.

The Armed Forces Foundation shut down in 2016.

Click here to read 2015 indictment against Patricia Driscoll

The case went to trial in October.

Driscoll and Busch broke up in 2014. She alleged afterward that he slammed her head against the wall in his motor home three times in September 2014 at Dover International Speedway.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Feb. 20, 2015 — two days before the Daytona 500 — after a Kent County (Delaware) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not” Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against Driscoll at Dover. NASCAR reinstated Busch a few days after the Delaware attorney general declined to seek charges against Busch in March. Busch missed three races while suspended.

 

Sam Bass, famed paint scheme and race program designer, dies

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Sam Bass, the artist known for designing many iconic NASCAR paint schemes and race programs, died Saturday.

His wife Denise confirmed Bass’ passing on Twitter. He was 57.

Bass, who designed Jeff Gordon’s striking “Rainbow Warriors” paint scheme, had spent the last few years looking for a new kidney. That was a result of a sepsis infection that originated in a blister on his left foot in 2005 and led to a below-the-knee amputation in 2008. Bass also had Type 1 diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at the age of 29.

Bass was inspired to become a NASCAR artist when he was 7 after attending his first race at Southside Speedway in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

“I was so amazed that night not only by the excitement and watching those cars run around and beat and bang on each other, but also the color – how all the cars were painted so many different colors,” Bass told NBC Sports in 2017. “I was like, ‘How cool is this?’ I couldn’t wait to get home to pull out my markers.”

The first car Bass designed was Bobby Allison’s Miller High Life car in 1988. That car went on to win the Daytona 500.

He went on to design the first Cup schemes for Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bass first designed a race program for the 1985 World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He designed programs for it and other Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks through 2018.

Marcus Smith, the CEO and President of SMI, issued the following statement.

“Our deepest sympathies are with Denise and her family today. Sam Bass has been a significant part of NASCAR’s history. He poured his heart, soul and talent into producing souvenir program covers at many speedways including Charlotte for more than 30 years. His work provided our fans a keepsake to treasure, and that was so appropriate, because Sam was always such a fan of our sport and he was such a treasure to the entire NASCAR family. His body of work will be a legacy that lives forever. We will miss Sam’s smile and positivity.”

NASCAR issued the following statement.

“Though he may have never turned a lap or a wrench, few captured the essence of our sport through his work more than Sam Bass. He was a consistent presence in the NASCAR garage, and his ever-present smile and endearing personality welcomed all. Though we have lost a member of the NASCAR family, his legend will continue in his art – all of which illustrated the greatness of our sport and the talent of a true friend.”

Michael McDowell leads final Daytona 500 practice

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Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell was fastest in the final practice session for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

McDowell and his No. 34 Ford recorded nine laps and a top speed of 191.440 mph.

The top five was completed by Ty Dillon (191.432 mph), pole-sitter William Byron (191.339), Alex Bowman (191.278) and Daniel Hemric (190.921).

Only 20 cars made at least one lap in the session.

Kurt Busch recorded the most laps in the session with 16 and was 11th on the speed chart at 189.741 mph.

Of four drivers to make a 10-lap run, Bowman had the best average at 190.334 mph.

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for the practice report.

Jeffrey Earnhardt honors grandfather Dale Earnhardt with helmet design

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Xfinity Series driver Jeffrey Earnhardt is honoring the “GOAT” in his family with a helmet he’s debuting this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

The “GOAT” – or “Greatest of All-Time” – is his grandfather, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

The helmet, which you can see below, bears an image of the seven-time Cup champion riding a horse while shirtless and wearing a cowboy hat.

Next to the image is the text, “Just a goat on his horse!”

Earnhardt will have the helmet today as he starts on the front row of the Xfinity Series season opener (2:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1).

It is the first of nine Xfinity races he’ll start for Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

MORE: Jeffrey Earnhardt ready for challenge of winning in Xfinity

Today’s Xfinity race at Daytona: Start time, lineup and more

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The NASCAR Xfinity Series kicks off the 2019 season today with the NASCAR Racing Experience 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

The 38-car field will feature defending series champion Tyler Reddick, who seeks to become the first driver to defend his Xfinity championship since Ricky Stenhouse Jr., won in 2011 and repeated in 2012.

Here’s how today’s pre-race schedule looks:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given by Drew Patey, VIP Partner of the NASCAR Racing Experience, at 2:37 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 2:49 p.m.

PRERACE CEREMONIES: Driver introductions begin at 2:10 p.m. The invocation will be given at 2:30 p.m. by Sonny Gallman, Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida. The National Anthem will be at 2:31 p.m. and sung by Gina Marie Incandela.

DISTANCE: The race is 120 laps (300 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 2 p.m. and also can be heard at MRN.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for cloudy skies with a high of 74 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain for the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Tyler Reddick won last year’s season-opening race. He started 11th and led 11 laps en route to the victory.

TO THE REAR: Pole-sitter Tyler Reddick will start from the rear after changing a tire with an air leak. Max Tullman also will start from the rear for a tire change. Jeremy Clements, unapproved adjustments.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.