NASCAR Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications David Higdon announced Saturday that NASCAR has decided to uphold Kurt Busch's suspension after hearing his appeal.
Former Sprint Cup Series champion's appeal set for Saturday at noon ET RELATED: NASCAR's Official Release " SHR introduces replacement for 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR suspended Kurt Busch indefinitely Friday in the wake of a Delaware family court's findings that "by a preponderance of the evidence" the 36-year-old driver "committed an act of domestic violence" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll on Sept. 24, 2014. NASCAR announced that Busch's punishment was for a behavioral penalty and "actions detrimental to stock car racing following the release today of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware's decision on Monday to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him." The decision leaves the former Sprint Cup Series champion on the sidelines for stock-car racing's most prestigious race, Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Regan Smith was named as Busch's replacement for the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet, which was scheduled to start 24th in Sunday's Great American Race but will drop to the rear of the field because of the driver change. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, made a statement 40 minutes after the decision was announced, taking no questions from the media. He said that Busch has the right to appeal and that the process would be expedited. Late Friday evening, a NASCAR spokesperson confirmed that Busch would contest the ruling. The appeal hearing is set for Saturday at noon ET. "NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry," O'Donnell said. "I want to make it clear that any inference that there is a culture or tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false." Rusty Hardin, Busch's lead attorney, said that the driver's legal team plans to make an "immediate appeal" of NASCAR's decision. According to a NASCAR spokesperson, the appeal will take place on Saturday; a three-person panel would hear the appeal from Busch , who cannot have legal representation at such a hearing. "We assure everyone, including NASCAR, that this action against Mr. Busch will turn out to be a travesty of justice, apparent to all, as this story continues to unfold," Hardin said in a statement, adding, "We ask everyone's patience as this case continues in the court of law and are confident that when the truth is known Mr. Busch will be fully vindicated and back in the driver's seat." Stewart-Haas said in a release that Smith, who will have a Saturday news conference at 9:45 a.m. ET ( Watch live on NASCAR.com ), will remain in the No. 41 Chevy regardless of the outcome of any appeal. Smith, last year's runner-up in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, was also a Stewart-Haas sub last season for team co-owner Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International after Stewart was involved in a fatal sprint car incident at a nearby dirt track the night before the Sprint Cup event. Chevrolet also announced Friday evening that the automaker has cut its ties to Busch . Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles, said that the manufacturer "has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely. We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary." NASCAR added in its penalty release that Busch "will not be allowed to race or participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice. " Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and the timetable of the authorities involved." NASCAR's ruling comes on the heels of conclusions, released Friday, from Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones that found Driscoll's version of what happened inside Busch's motorcoach that evening at Dover International Speedway was more believable than Busch's , saying that his "version of the events is implausible, does not make sense and is unlikely to be true given the totality of the other evidence admitted at trial." According to the civil disposition report, Jones said he believed Busch committed an act of abuse against Driscoll "by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home, thereby recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable fear of physical injury." Jones granted Driscoll a protective order Monday. Busch requested that the case be re-opened, but no ruling has been made. The terms of Jones' conclusion also require Busch "to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional" and to complete any prescribed plan of treatment. The Dover (Delaware) Police Department completed its investigation of the alleged assault on Jan. 6, putting the case in the hands of the county's attorney general's office, which has not decided whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. Driscoll lauded NASCAR's decision to take action. "For victims of domestic violence there are no victories,' " Driscoll said in a statement. "My only hope is that the pain and trauma I suffered through this process will help other victims find their voice. … Today NASCAR took an important step and deserves to be commended. The next steps are to develop a thorough process and policies that reinforce the organization’s position it took today: Domestic violence will not be tolerated in NASCAR." Friday's announcement marked the third time that Busch -- a 25-time winner and the 2004 champion in NASCAR's top division -- has been forced to miss races in the Sprint Cup Series for disciplinary reasons. In 2005, Roush Fenway Racing severed ties to Busch with two races left in the season after he was cited for reckless driving and became belligerent with Maricopa County (Arizona) sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop near Phoenix International Raceway, according to police reports. In 2012, NASCAR suspended Busch for one race for "verbal abuse of a media member" during a post-race interview at Dover. Before Friday's decision, both Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR had declined to discipline Busch , with each opting to let the legal process play out. When news of the investigation broke last November while the series was racing at Phoenix, Busch declined comment and SHR spokespersons referred reporters to Busch's attorney, Rusty Hardin. Team co-owner Gene Haas said in the Phoenix garage that he would not remove Busch as driver of the No. 41 Chevy "until someone else pulls him out." Last Thursday during NASCAR Media Day, Stewart -- a three-time champion and the team's other co-owner -- said the organization had a contingency plan in place should the legal process have an unfavorable outcome. Friday evening, Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer said in a statement provided by the team that "we understand NASCAR's position regarding Kurt Busch and accept their decision. We are in the midst of finalizing our plans for the Daytona 500 and we will announce those details as soon as we're ready." In offseason interviews, Busch said he had no timetable for how long the legal process would take. Last January at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, Busch maintained that his testimony was accurate. "It's a matter of knowing that the truth has been told and we'll see how things unfold," Busch said Jan. 27. "The process, we have to wait on what their decision's going to be." NASCAR chairman Brian France said during his season-ending "State of the Sport" address last November that the sanctioning body would react once concrete details in the legal process were complete. "What's not lost on us by any stretch is the rightful heightened awareness on domestic abuse and violence, and so you can expect our policies to reflect the understandable awareness that that's not going to be tolerated," France said before the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "The past of how any league might have handled some of this is one thing. It's pretty clear when you see what's happening around the country and in some of the other leagues that our policy will reflect the significance and importance that it should." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver's final appeal denied; earlier appeal denied as well Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kurt Busch's final appeal of NASCAR's indefinite suspension was denied Saturday night. This came hours after his first appeal was rejected and one day after the sanctioning body handed down punishment based on the findings of a Delaware family court. NASCAR announced the final decision from National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss at its headquarters at the International Motorsports Center, where both appeals were heard Saturday. Busch was not allowed counsel from Rusty Hardin, his lead attorney, or any member of his legal team during either hearing. The ruling scuttles any notion of an 11th-hour reinstatement to the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet ahead of Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500. Team representatives said Saturday morning that SHR planned to enter Regan Smith as an interim driver of the No. 41 car, regardless of the appeal's outcome. Smith was fitted for the driver's seat and drove the car in Saturday's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. Busch has now exhausted his appeal options under the NASCAR rulebook and the indefinite suspension remains in effect. Busch's next step toward potential reinstatement will be a prescribed path of treatment subject to professional review, similar to the NASCAR Road to Recovery substance abuse reinstatement process, according to a NASCAR spokesperson. Busch is already required "to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional" and to complete any prescribed plan of treatment, according to the terms of the family court's conclusions. "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," Hardin said in a statement. Busch was suspended Friday after the conclusions reached by Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones stated that a "preponderance of the evidence" indicated that Busch "committed an act of domestic violence" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway. Jones' findings were released four days after the family court granted Driscoll's request for an Order of Protection from Abuse, stemming from their alleged altercation in Busch's motorcoach. Busch's punishment fell under two headings in the NASCAR Rule Book: Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; and 12.8: Behavioral penalty. On Friday, Steve O'Donnell -- NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer -- said that Busch had the option of appealing the decision and that the process would be expedited. Hardin indicated shortly thereafter that his client would contest the ruling. Busch's first appeal, which was scheduled at noon ET Saturday, was heard by the three-member National Motorsports Appeals Panel. Hardin indicated minutes after the decision was announced that the driver would submit a final appeal. "We are very disappointed that our appeal was rejected by NASCAR's appeal panel," Hardin said in a statement after the first decision was made public. "We are re-appealing immediately, per the proscribed process. We have significant and strong evidence that contradicts the Commissioner's conclusions. In the end we are confident that Kurt will be vindicated and he will be back racing. Until then we will continue to fight on his behalf by ensuring that the entire truth is known." Busch's last recourse in attempting to gain reinstatement during Daytona's Speedweeks marked the first final appeal heard by Moss, the former president of Gulfstream Aerospace who was named National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer last season. Moss' decision is final. The main difference between the two hearings -- according to the NASCAR Rule Book -- is that the burden of proof fell to Busch in the final appeal; in the initial appeal, the burden of proof was NASCAR's responsibility. In both appeals, Jim Cassidy, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, represented the sanctioning body, and NASCAR Vice President George Silbermann served as the appellate administrator. According to a NASCAR release, the three-member panel for Saturday's first appeal consisted of: Paul Brooks, a former NASCAR Senior Vice President; Lyn St. James, a former IndyCar and sports car racer; and Kevin Whitaker, operator of Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a NASCAR-sanctioned weekly track in South Carolina. Busch left the building, across the street from Daytona International Speedway, after the first appeal Saturday afternoon without comment, whisked away in the back seat of a Ford SUV that squealed its tires as it departed at 2:56 p.m. ET. The decision was announced approximately 20 minutes later. The Monday ruling for a no-contact order is a separate legal matter from the Dover (Delaware) Police Department's investigation of the alleged assault. The department concluded its probe on Jan. 6, turning the case over to the county's attorney general's office, which has not decided whether Busch will face criminal charges. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Stewart-Haas Racing driver must maintain distance from ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge Kurt Busch has been ordered to stay away from his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, according to court documents. The order, which is good until Feb. 16, 2016, states that Busch must stay 100 yards away from Driscoll's home and workplace, must maintain a "practicable" distance and not attempt to contact Driscoll at NASCAR events. Busch will also be evaluated for mental health problems in regard to anger control and impulse control, and it may be unlawful for Busch to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition. Driscoll sought a no-contact order in court related to her claim of an alleged physical confrontation at Dover International Speedway last September. The Delaware state attorney general's office has yet to rule on the alleged altercation and whether any charges will be handed down. The two parties spent several days in a Delaware court in December and January. NASCAR released a statement on the matter that read: NASCAR has been closely following the civil proceedings in Kent County (Del.) Family Court regarding driver Kurt Busch and therefore is aware of the court order issued today. We now await the full findings of the Commissioner and any actions by the Attorney General of Delaware related to the allegations against Busch . "As we stated earlier, NASCAR fully recognizes the serious nature of this specific situation and the broader issue of domestic violence. We will continue to gather information and monitor this situation very closely, and we expect our members to conduct themselves properly." Stewart-Haas Racing Executive Vice President Joe Custer said the following in a team release: "These are serious allegations and we do not take them lightly. We are relying on the authorities in Delaware and their collective experience to identify all the facts. They are the experts in these matters and their decision, specifically the one that will be made by the Attorney General, will determine our course of action." Busch spoke at length about the legal proceedings last Thursday at the annual NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway, expressing at the time some mild frustration that the case entered its third month. Allegations of domestic assault brought by Busch's ex-girlfriend, Driscoll, first surfaced over 90 days ago. "The days in court, and now that we're going close to Day 100 as far as all of the proceedings go, normal situations that happen around these type of situations take 30 minutes, so sometimes preferential treatment can go the wrong way," Busch said last week. "… So we all have to be patient, we all have to understand that there's a process that we have to respect." "... And with the team and their support -- they've been fantastic, (team co-owner) Gene Haas especially -- it's amazing to have the comfort level that I have, as well as to have told them the truth and understanding of everything." Team co-owner Tony Stewart -- like Busch , a former Sprint Cup Series champion -- said last week that his Stewart-Haas Racing team has prepared a backup plan in case the legal proceedings involving Kurt Busch have an unfavorable outcome. Neither NASCAR nor the team have made movement toward removing Busch from his role as full-time driver of the Stewart-Haas No. 41 Chevrolet, opting to let the legal process play out before taking any action. Stewart said that while the team has a contingency plan, he hopes it doesn't come to that. "We do, but we're kind of waiting to see, and I'm very hopeful that we won't have to worry about it," Stewart said. "I feel bad that he's in that situation right now -- that they're both in that situation -- so we have to be smart and we have to have a plan in place if it doesn't work out for whatever reason." Busch first spoke publicly about the case late last month at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. Contributing: Zack Albert MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver suspended for actions detrimental to stock car racing RELATED: Kurt Busch suspended indefinitely Daytona Beach, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2015) -- NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch for actions detrimental to stock car racing following the release today of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware’s decision on Monday to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him. Busch , driver of the No. 41 car, was found to be in violation of: • Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing • Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty "Given the serious nature of the findings and conclusions made by the Commissioner of the Family Court of the State of Delaware, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch , effective immediately. He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice. " Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and timetable of the authorities involved."
Sprint Cup star fractured right leg in NASCAR XFINITY Series race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Matt Crafton will be filling in for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for Sunday's Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Saturday night. Busch suffered a compound fracture of his right lower leg from a hard hit late in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 on Saturday, according to a team release. He is undergoing surgery on his right leg on Saturday night. In addition, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. Busch's injury will sideline him for an undetermined amount of time and no interim driver has been named for any future races, according to the team. Busch began to climb from his car without assistance, but was placed on a stretcher by emergency personnel shortly after exiting the car. He was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center moments later. A 29-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Busch does not have a Daytona 500 victory to his name. In the loop data era at Daytona, Busch has the best average running position (12.8), driver rating (96.2) and most laps in the top 15 (2488), which comes out to 70.1 percent of the laps in the past 20 races. Filling in for Busch will be Crafton, the 38-year-old two-time defending champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Crafton has not started a Sprint Cup Series race in his career although he did qualify Robby Gordon's Cup ride in 2008 at Dover while Gordon competed in the Baja 1000. He failed in his attempt to qualify for the Brickyard 400 last summer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch was slated to start fourth, but due to the driver change, Crafton will have to start at the back of the field. In 339 career starts in the Truck Series, Crafton has five wins, though none of those has come at Daytona. With his brother Kurt Busch suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Friday, Sunday's race will be the first Great American Race since 2000 without one of the Busch brothers in the field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR’s Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell announces that Kurt Busch has been suspended indefinitely after reviewing his pending domestic violence case.
Organization acknowledges team has contingency plan in place Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Challenge DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Kurt Busch said Thursday that he has no timetable for a possible resolution to the legal issues that have shrouded his offseason, but that his team has a contingency plan in place should the matter impact his racing career. Busch spoke at length about the legal proceedings Thursday at the annual NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway, expressing some mild frustration that the case is now entering its third month. Allegations of domestic assault brought by Busch's ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, first surfaced over 90 days ago. "The days in court, and now that we're going close to Day 100 as far as all of the proceedings go, normal situations that happen around these type of situations take 30 minutes, so sometimes preferential treatment can go the wrong way," Busch said. "… So we all have to be patient, we all have to understand that there's a process that we have to respect, and the fact that no announcement has come out, each day that goes by continues to be good news. "And with the team and their support -- they've been fantastic, (team co-owner) Gene Haas especially -- it's amazing to have the comfort level that I have, as well as to have told them the truth and understanding of everything, it's easy to be here and be pumped up about the season that's 10 days away." Busch will have racing on his mind with starting Friday with the opening of on-track activity at Daytona, heading to Saturday's Sprint Unlimited (8 p.m. ET, FOX) and the Feb. 22 Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX). But in the interim, the 36-year-old driver has made multiple offseason trips to a Delaware courtroom for hearings. Driscoll has sought a no-contact order in court related to her claim of an alleged physical confrontation at Dover International Speedway last September. The Delaware state attorney general's office has yet to rule on the alleged altercation and whether any charges will be handed down. Team co-owner Tony Stewart -- like Busch , a former Sprint Cup Series champion -- said that his Stewart-Haas Racing team has prepared a backup plan in case the legal proceedings involving Kurt Busch have an unfavorable outcome. Neither NASCAR nor the team have made movement toward removing Busch from his role as full-time driver of the Stewart-Haas No. 41 Chevrolet, opting to let the legal process play out before taking any action. Stewart said that while the team has a contingency plan, he hopes it doesn't come to that. "We do, but we're kind of waiting to see, and I'm very hopeful that we won't have to worry about it," Stewart said. "I feel bad that he's in that situation right now -- that they're both in that situation -- so we have to be smart and we have to have a plan in place if it doesn't work out for whatever reason." Busch first spoke publicly about the case late last month at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. Thursday in Daytona, he reiterated the theme of his comments from January. "It's a matter of knowing that the truth has been told and we'll see how things unfold," Busch said. "The process, we have to wait on what their decision's going to be." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Tony Stewart gets loose, causing a crash that collects Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch with under 10 laps to go during the Sprint Unlimited.
Busch says he hasn't 'spoken to' older brother regarding domestic abuse allegations RELATED: Monday's best quotes from the Charlotte Media Tour CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kyle Busch said Monday that he has steered clear of involving himself in older brother Kurt's recent legal issues, even though reporting mistakes have confused the two. Kurt Busch has been the center of an investigation for allegations of domestic assault by the Dover (Del.) Police Department since November, two months after an alleged incident took place at Dover International Speedway . The elder Busch has not commented on the incident or investigation, except through court testimony or statements from his attorney, Rusty Hardin. The younger Busch , speaking Monday at the Joe Gibbs Racing portion of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, said that he has taken a hands-off approach to the developments. "Haven't spoken to him," Kyle Busch said. "Don't know nothing and I'm trying to stay away from it all and let him handle his business. "Obviously, it's got to be painful for him and you don't ever want to see anybody go through this sort of thing, but I don't know. Besides not wanting to get too far involved in it, that's about all I want to say." But the younger brother has been indirectly involved through erroneous reporting. Kyle Busch said he bristled at seeing his name attached to tweets or reports concerning the case. "I think it's stupid," he said. "I think people need to do a little bit more background before they write names or say names if they don't know what the heck they are talking about. It's not that hard to differentiate between two people that have the same last name. I think people need to do a better job and not be so slackish." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule