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
This year, Coca-Cola created two new versions of the Coca-Cola Racing Family Road Trip taking their drivers off of the track for a "pit stop". It's great to see Coca-Cola highlight the very fan-friendly and engaging side of their drivers. - Heather Brigham, Director
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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
Alan Cavanna, with help from Kasey Kahne and Ray Evernham, breaks down the Coca-Cola 600 mile by mile.
Check out a full chat replay of Coca-Cola Racing Family driver Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum as they discuss Stewart's injury and his favorite movies with fans.
Check out the full replay of the Coca-Cola Racing Family Chat from Las Vegas with Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman.
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
Team Penske driver: 'All drivers responsibility to take safety seriously' Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Safety has been a hot topic in the opening weeks of the NASCAR national series season with Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon both involved in wrecks in back-to-back weeks at spots on tracks without a SAFER barrier. Busch's wreck in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway left him sidelined indefinitely with a compound fracture of the right lower leg and a left mid-foot fracture, while Gordon was just done for the day at the Atlanta Motor Speedway . With all that going on, Brad Keselowski , the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, took to Twitter to offer some of his thoughts on the subject of safety. Racing safety has it complacency until someone significant dies in our era @nateryan @alo_oficial — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) March 3, 2015 Safety in racing is a tough subject. Racing is dangerous and always will be. I accept my own risk every week. But that doesn't mean being — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) March 3, 2015 As a professional in an entertainment sport, it is all drivers responsibility to take safety seriously as our decisions transcend our level. — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) March 3, 2015 Simple safety measures like the HANS device have saved lives at the lower levels and they are made possible by the works of those at the top — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) March 3, 2015 So much to say about safety vs risk in racing and too few characters to use. — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) March 3, 2015 Tracks have been taking extra precaution and making safety enhancements in recent weeks, with Daytona announcing it would ring the entire track with SAFER barrier. Atlanta also made some safety enhancements before last week's race. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said in a video interview with NASCAR.com on Monday ( that you can watch here ) that there is "no greater priority" for the sanctioning body and its affiliated tracks than the expanded use of impact-absorbing protective barriers. "I think from our perspective, no different than Daytona," O'Donnell said. "We said that there's no greater priority for NASCAR in working with the tracks to have SAFER everywhere. 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." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today