Driver has begun process to be reinstated by NASCAR Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live The Delaware attorney general's office said Thursday that it will not bring criminal charges against NASCAR driver Kurt Busch , citing insufficient evidence. RELATED: NASCAR statement on Kurt Busch The decision concludes the criminal case concerning the alleged incident of domestic violence against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway . The Delaware Department of Justice confirmed the decision Thursday morning in an emailed statement. "After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that 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," the statement read. "Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case." NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Feb. 20, the day a Delaware family court released its report granting Driscoll's no-contact order. The 36-year-old Busch has missed the first two events in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with interim driver Regan Smith -- a regular in the NASCAR XFINITY Series -- filling in for the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet team. NASCAR released a statement late Thursday afternoon to say that Busch remains suspended, but that the Delaware attorney general's decision removes a hurdle to Busch's possible reinstatement. "NASCAR is aware of the Delaware Department of Justice announcement today regarding driver Kurt Busch ," the statement read. "As we disclosed Monday, he has accepted the terms and conditions of a reinstatement program and is actively participating in the program. Kurt Busch 's eligibility for reinstatement will continue to be governed by that program and the NASCAR Rule Book, though the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges certainly removes a significant impediment to his reinstatement." RELATED: Busch starts reinstatement process Busch -- who testified that he repeatedly told Driscoll to leave his motorcoach Sept. 26 and disputed her accusations of physical abuse -- released a statement Thursday afternoon, showing his appreciation and welcoming the decision. "I am grateful that the prosecutors in Delaware listened, carefully considered the evidence, and after a thorough investigation decided to not file criminal charges against me," Busch's statement read. "I wish to thank my family, friends, fans, and race team who stood by me throughout this nightmare with their unwavering support. Thanks also goes to my legal team for making sure that the truth got out and was fully provided to the prosecutors. As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse. I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life." Less than an hour later, Driscoll and members of her legal team also issued statements regarding the decision. "While I respect the process, I am disappointed that full justice was not served here," Driscoll's statement read. "My family and I take a measure of solace in the Order of Protection From Abuse granted by commissioner Jones, who ruled my account of the facts was the most credible. At great risk to my personal and professional reputation, I have spoken candidly, at length, and on the record, to a variety of outlets in an effort to correct the distortions and sensationalism that have unfortunately marked the coverage of this painful time in my family’s life. I would urge anyone covering this case to stick to the well-established facts. Giving further air to baseless and discredited accusations about me does a disservice to the public and reduces a serious matter for law enforcement into tabloid gossip. "In all future developments in this case, I will continue to stand up for my integrity and for justice. But for now, I am focused on my family, my friends, and my important and gratifying work with the Armed Forces Foundation." Jim Ligouri, a Delaware-based attorney who represented Busch, deferred comment on Thursday's decision to Rusty Hardin, the lead attorney for Busch's legal team. A call placed to Hardin's Houston, Texas office was not immediately returned. Driscoll filed a complaint Nov. 5 with the Dover Police Department, which completed its investigation of the alleged altercation on Jan. 6, handing the case over to the Delaware attorney general's office. The criminal case was separate from Driscoll's request for a no-contact order, which was granted Feb. 16 by a Delaware family court. Busch's attorneys pledged to appeal the yearlong protective order, which mandates that Busch must not contact Driscoll and must stay away from her except "at NASCAR races and related events where closer proximity is required." NASCAR handed down an indefinite suspension four days later, after Kent County (Delaware) family court commissioner David Jones released his findings in a civil disposition, saying that a "preponderance of the evidence" indicated that Busch "committed an act of domestic violence" during Driscoll's visit to the driver's motorcoach at Dover. The commissioner's ruling also stated that Busch's "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." Mark Dycio, a Fairfax, Virginia-based attorney representing Driscoll, said Thursday in a prepared statement that Driscoll's legal team took heart in Jones' earlier report in light of Thursday's decision. "The decision from the Delaware Attorney General does not deny that the assault occurred, and indicates only that the state's attorneys lack confidence in their ability to get a criminal conviction," Dycio said. "It changes nothing about the established facts of the case. Mr. Busch testified in open court that he squeezed Patricia's face, and admitted to police that he slammed her head against the wall in the process. Given that these admissions establish an assault took place, and that police recommended Mr. Busch be prosecuted, it seems impossible that the attorney general's office made this decision on burden of proof grounds. "It would be unfortunate, and a terrible precedent for victims of abuse, if the prospect of inviting a media circus fueled by Mr. Busch’s wealth, notoriety, and hostile PR team in any way swayed this decision. We are comforted at least in the knowledge that the judge who did hear the evidence found clear reason to believe Busch committed the assault, and granted the protective order to Patricia and her family." Busch's suspension fell under two headings in the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book -- Actions detrimental to stock car racing; and 12.8: Behavioral penalty. Busch filed two expedited appeals Feb. 21 on the eve of the season-opening Daytona 500 , but NASCAR's ruling was upheld in both hearings -- the first heard by the three-member National Motorsports Appeals Panel and the final heard by National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss. Stewart-Haas Racing officials said Monday that Smith again would serve as a substitute driver in this Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, just outside Busch's hometown. SHR released a statement from Joe Custer, SHR's executive vice president on Thursday evening that read: "We appreciate the thoroughness of the Dover Police Department's investigation into the allegations made against Kurt Busch and respect the time the Attorney General put into his decision. They are experts in these matters and the decision not to pursue charges is an important one. We're currently working with NASCAR to understand how this impacts Kurt's reinstatement process." Thursday's developments did not change Chevrolet's stance on Busch. "Our relationship with Kurt Busch remains unchanged," Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, said in a statement. "He remains suspended, and we will continue to monitor all aspects of this situation." Busch applied for reinstatement of his competition license last Friday, agreeing to the terms and conditions set forth by NASCAR. Monday, NASCAR spokesperson David Higdon said there was no timetable to Busch's potential path to reinstatement, and that the requirements were developed as an individually tailored plan, created in consultation with an outside expert. Higdon confirmed that NASCAR's reinstatement procedure was separate from the requirements issued by Commissioner Jones, who required that Busch "be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional" and complete any treatment plan that person would prescribe. Busch has recorded 25 victories since beginning his career in NASCAR's premier series in 2000. He won his only series championship in 2004, the first season for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Busch's absence marks the third time in his Sprint Cup career that he has missed races because of disciplinary reasons. Roush Fenway Racing cut its ties to the driver with two events left in the 2005 season after Busch was cited for reckless driving and belligerent behavior during a traffic stop, according to Maricopa County (Arizona) sheriff's deputies. NASCAR also gave Busch a one-race suspension for verbal abuse of a media member in June 2012. 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
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Ride along with NASCAR.com’s Chuck Bush and Matthew Dillner and driver Cody Ware as NASCAR takes over the Las Vegas Strip to kick off #NASCARGoesWest presented by Camping World. For more information, go to campingworld.com.
Hear from all the top finishers from Saturday's American Ethanol 200 from Iowa Speedway.
Company has been longtime associate partner to JR Motorsports Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Regan Smith will run a paint scheme in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 . (Saturday, March 14, 4 p.m. ET, FOX) featuring Axalta Coating Systems, JR Motorsports announced on Thursday. Axalta has been a longtime associate partner and the team's official paint supplier. "Axalta has been a valued part of our championship organization almost from the very beginning, and we are pleased to have Regan and the rest of the No. 7 team in Cromax colors at Phoenix," JR Motorsports co-owner and general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said in a team release. The 2015 XFINITY Series season is Smith's third with JRM. He is currently 14th in the point standings through two races this season with a top-10 finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend. Smith has also been pulling double duty, subbing for the suspended Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet. 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
See the full field for Thursday's duels that help set the Daytona 500 lineup Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Buy: Pole Winner Gear While Sunday's group qualifying set the front row for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 22, 1 p.m. ET, FOX), a majority of the spots for the rest of the field will be made up by how drivers fare in the Daytona Duels on Thursday night (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1). Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will be on the front row for the Great American Race and will also have the pole spots for their respective duels. Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500. RELATED: Why Dale Jr., Hamlin moved to back of Duels field Here are the complete lineups for both races. BUDWEISER DUEL #1 Pos Car # Driver Team 1 No. 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 2 No. 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 3 No. 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 4 No. 33 Ty Dillon Cheerios/Kroger Chevrolet 5 No. 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna/McDonald's Chevrolet 6 No. 83 Johnny Sauter Dustless Blasting Toyota 7 No. 6 Trevor Bayne Advocare Ford 8 No. 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 9 No. 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 10 No. 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 11 No. 23 JJ Yeley MAXIM Fantasy Sports App/Dr. Pepper Toyota 12 No. 27 Paul Menard Peak/Menards Chevrolet 13 No. 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/USO Chevrolet 14 No. 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet 15 No. 14 Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 16 No. 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 17 No. 46 Michael Annett Flying J/Pilot Chevrolet 18 No. 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 19 No. 95 Michael McDowell Thrivent Financial Ford 20 No. 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 21 No. 29 Justin Marks American Born Moonshine Toyota 22 No. 35 Cole Whitt Speed Stick Ford 23 No. 40 Landon Cassill Carsforsale.com Chevrolet 24 No. 30 Ron Hornaday Jr. Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet 25 No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nationwide Chevrolet BUDWEISER DUEL #2 Pos Car # Driver Team 1 No. 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 2 No. 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Crispy Toyota 3 No. 19 Carl Edwards Arris Toyota 4 No. 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet 5 No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet 6 No. 16 Greg Biffle Ortho Ford 7 No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr. Twisted Tea Ford 8 No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 9 No. 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 10 No. 55 Michael Waltrip Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 11 No. 32 Bobby Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford 12 No. 7 Alex Bowman Toy State/Nikko Chevrolet 13 No. 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 14 No. 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 15 No. 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 16 No. 62 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Chevrolet 17 No. 51 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet 18 No. 38 David Gilliland Love's Travel Stop Ford 19 No. 26 Jeb Burton LiveDeal.com Download the App Toyota 20 No. 44 Reed Sorenson Golden Corral Chevrolet 21 No. 34 David Ragan Kentucky Fried Chicken Ford 22 No. 98 Josh Wise Phoenix Construction Ford 23 No. 66 Mike Wallace Crazy Vapors/X8 Energy Gum Toyota 24 No. 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Four-time champion reached out, will discuss safety measures Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live LAS VEGAS -- Four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon will meet with NASCAR officials next week to discuss the sanctioning body's safety measures, including the potential expanded use of SAFER barriers. Gordon, in his final season of full-time competition, dropped that bit of information Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway less than a week after he smacked a concrete wall at Atlanta Motor Speedway and two weeks after Kyle Busch broke his right leg in a wreck at Daytona International Speedway . "I reached out to them," Gordon said of the meeting. "It's a meeting to discuss some things, that being one of them. "I think it's important to note, the tracks and NASCAR are doing a lot to put as much effort into (taking additional safety measures) right away. There is only so much that can be done in a short period of time. … I'm looking forward to getting together with them to hear a little more detail about that progress." Gordon, who has raced in every premier series event since the season finale in 1992, can remember a time when there were no SAFER barriers. And he remembers what it felt like to hit those rough walls consistently. When he finds a SAFER barrier-less concrete wall on occasion -- like at Atlanta -- it's a rude, often painful reminder of just how effective the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction safety system is. "If you race long enough, you're going to hit stuff and you're going to hit hard," Gordon said. "I've hit a lot of walls with (SAFER barriers), and I've hit a lot of them without. When I hit one without, it's always, 'Wow, what did I just hit? What was that?' I'm always caught off-guard by the impact and how severe it is. "With a SAFER barrier -- this happened to me at Texas, I blew a right front tire going into Turn 1. I thought, 'Oh, God, this is going to hurt … oh that wasn't so bad.' It's a huge difference." Gordon joined the chorus of NASCAR drivers calling for an increased SAFER barrier presence following both Busch's wreck, and then his own. Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway , site of next week's race, both made safety modifications in advance of their respective events. "We said that there's no greater priority for NASCAR in working with the tracks to have SAFER everywhere," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Office Steve O'Donnell told NASCAR.com earlier this week. "In terms of where it makes sense, obviously there's some challenges with different gates where you've got to look at some other technologies, but for us, the process is in place for short-term plans where we've worked with Atlanta and the upcoming West Coast tracks, and longer-term, implementing the SAFER barriers as quickly as we can." When next week's meeting concludes, the 43-year-old Gordon said he would share his gleanings with other drivers in the garage. As for the answers he hopes to get, one stands out -- What was the SAFER barrier plan before Busch got injured? "The one thing I would question is, when did SAFER barriers start being put at race tracks and what was the plan for them to be complete?" Gordon said. "I was under the impression when they started going in that it was going to be a three- or four-year plan to implement the SAFER barrier on every wall that needed to have one. "I think everybody knows it's a priority, but it seems to be kind of pushed further long since Kyle's accident. Where were we prior to Kyle's accident on that plan? We need to know what that timeframe is." 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
Sprint Cup regular Dale Jr. posts top-10 speeds during both sessions Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live XFINITY Series Practice 1 " Full results Austin Dillon clocked the fastest lap in opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice Friday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Dillon, the only driver to break the 30-second barrier in the 55-minute session, drove the Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet to a best lap of 180.977 mph on the 1.5-mile track. He'll be making his second XFINITY Series start of the season in Saturday's Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Dale Earnhardt Jr . was second-fastest at 179.414 mph in the JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet that he co-owns. He was just ahead of JRM teammate Regan Smith , who registered the third-fastest lap at 178.453 mph. Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin completed the top five. Joe Gibbs Racing wound up using two fill-in drivers in their three entries for Saturday's 300-miler. Matt Kenseth was an emergency sub in the No. 18 Toyota for rookie Daniel Suarez, who was treated in the infield care center for a stomach ailment. Suarez felt well enough to turn a handful of laps near the end of the session, but it was Kenseth who posted the team's best lap, a 177.363-mph speed that was ninth-fastest overall. Hamlin will substitute all weekend in Gibbs' No. 54 Toyota for the injured Kyle Busch , who suffered multiple lower-leg injuries in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway . Defending series champion Chase Elliott , Erik Jones , Elliott Sadler , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Cale Conley , Ross Chastain , Kenseth, Earnhardt, Smith, Hamlin and Blaney were all held out of the first 15 minutes of practice. Their respective teams all served a penalty for being late to technical inspection last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway . XFINITY Series co-leader Ty Dillon was sixth-fastest of the 35 drivers who participated in the opening season. Chris Buescher , who shares the top spot in the standings, was 13th-fastest. Series regular Brian Scott didn't complete a lap after the engine in his Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet developed early trouble. XFINITY Series final practice " Full results Opening practice leader Austin Dillon continued to lay down fast lap times during Friday's final practice session for the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . The No. 33 driver propelled his Richard Childress Chevrolet around the Nevada oval at 182.927 mph. After replacing the engine in his No. 2 ride, Brian Scott finally hit the track for the second practice. The lack of seat time a few hours earlier didn't seem to deter the Richard Childress Racing driver, as he posted the second-fastest speed, circling the speedway at 179.665 mph. Rounding out the top five were RSS Racing's Ryan Sieg (179.384 mph), Richard Childress Racing 's Brendan Gaughan (179.348 mph) and JR Motorsports' Regan Smith (179.301 mph). Sprint Cup Series veteran Denny Hamlin is subbing for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend. After running the most laps during the final practice, Hamlin ranked seventh on the leaderboard. Posting the ninth-fastest speed was JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who is wheeling the team's No. 88 machine this week. JRM driver and reigning XFINITY champion Chase Elliott rounded the 1.5-mile track 18th-fastest in his No. 9 Chevrolet. Joe Gibbs Racing 's Daniel Suarez missed most of the first session due to a stomach ailment, but was back behind the wheel of his No. 18 Toyota by the final practice. He posted the 19th-fastest speed on the leaderboard. The XFINITY Series will be back on track on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. ET, for the Coors Light Pole Qualifying with coverage on FOX Sports 2. 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
Six-time champion bounced back for fifth-place finish at Daytona SHOP: Buy Daytona 500 gear RELATED: Get full race results " Series standings DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR installed a new pit road officiating system for the 2015 season designed to increase safety and add extra levels of technological precision to ensure teams were being held fully accountable for their in-race actions. In Sunday's 57th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in the first full-field NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race under the new format, plenty of teams were hit with penalties detected by the new system -- including the typically flawless No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports crew for six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. PHOTOS: Get an inside look at the new pit road technology On Lap 87, NASCAR hit the 48 team with a pass-through penalty for an infraction of having a crew member over the wall too soon, one of six teams hit during that round of green-flag stops. The only problem? Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus had no idea what they'd done wrong. "NASCAR … I would appreciate an explanation," Knaus asked over the 48 team radio. "We do not know what we did wrong." After serving the penalty, the 48 car stood in 35th place -- the last car on the lead lap. Johnson had plenty of race left to make up the track position lost -- he ultimately finished fifth -- but the Hendrick Motorsports driver really needed to battle on the 2.5-mile superspeedway to get back to the front of the pack. "(It made our day) more difficult," Johnson said. "To almost lose a lap and then come back and have to start dead last and climb my way up through the middle, I took a lot of risks to get up there. We did have to work a lot today." The biggest issue that Johnson and Knaus had with the penalty was that despite their efforts to contact NASCAR through the radio, they said no response was given -- the two still were in the dark as to what happened and why they were penalized long after the checkered flag fell in favor of race-winner Joey Logano. In essence, the penalties could've kept happening for the 48 team and they wouldn't have known how to correct them, Johnson said. "We couldn't get clarification on why we were penalized, so in order for us to make a correction for the other three or four stops, we didn't know what to do," Johnson said. "We just kind of went back to doing our thing like we had been and fortunately there were no more penalties. "We'll get clarification (from NASCAR) as the week develops. It'd be nice to know during the race so we can make an adjustment." As far as if Knaus plans on reaching out to NASCAR officials for an explanation of what went wrong prior to the Sprint Cup Series' next race, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the longtime 48 pit boss said "I'm sure at some point (we will)." 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
Catch up quickly before the Camping World Truck Series race in Iowa