Father of Johnny Sauter made 76 career starts in premier series Jim Sauter, a racer and father of four drivers including NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter , died on Friday night shortly before the conclusion of the Truck event at Texas Motor Speedway , according to ThorSport Racing. He was 71. Sauter competed in 82 NASCAR national series races from 1980 to 2004, including 76 premier series starts. The native of Necedah, Wisconsin, made his final NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the Milwaukee Mile in 2002, racing against his sons Jay, Johnny and Tim. Jim Jr. followed in his father's footsteps as well. In addition to these four sons, Sauter is survived by his wife, Debbie, eight additional children, 51 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two sisters. A two-time champion in the ARTGO Racing Series in the Midwest, Sauter tested International Race of Champions cars with fellow Wisconsin racers Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle. His son, Johnny, learned of his father's passing following Friday's Winstar World Casino & Resort 350. His lone win of 2014 came at Michigan International Speedway , and he acknowledged it was a special victory in his post-race comments that recalled his dad's recollections of the track. "I'm just going to relish in this win because this has been a tough, tough race track for me throughout my career," Johnny said. "My Dad always said, 'That place is easy.' But, I never felt that way. Until today, I mean when you have a truck like this -- it was just awesome." NASCAR issued the following statement on Jim Sauter's passing: "NASCAR offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jim Sauter. A true racer, Jim passed on his passion and competitive spirit to his children and grandchildren. A driver himself with roots in the Midwest, his reach and impact extend across the entire sport." The racing community expressed condolences on social media with a sample included below from Sauter's former competitor Mark Martin ; fellow Wisconsin racer Roy Kenseth, father of Matt; crew chief and former IROC chassis specialist Ray Evernham and NASCAR Senior Vice President, Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. Sorry to hear Jim Sauter died. He was a really good man and a great racer. — Mark Martin (@markmartin) November 1, 2014 Thoughts and prayers go out to the Jim Sauter family today. pic.twitter.com/ydHNAQcXQT — Roy Kenseth (@roykenseth) November 1, 2014 Really sorry to hear about passing of Jim Sauter. Worked with him for many years at IROC. Crew chiefed for him at Pocono 1990 #RIP — ray evernham (@RayEvernham) November 1, 2014 Thinking about the Sauter family. Jim Sauter's contribution to stock car racing and NASCAR will be felt for many generations. Good man. — Jim Cassidy (@jfcassidy) November 1, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Join Chuck Bush and Matthew Dillner as they roll through week two of the NASCAR Goes West RV trip. Visit CampingWorld.com to find everything you need for your RV!
Includes entitlement of the touring NASCAR K&N Pro Series for five years
Company to remain entitlement sponsor through 2021 for 12-consecutive years
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
Evernham, Kulwicki, Martin added to ballot; Landmark Award nominees named Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners and drivers. Their roles and responsibilities may have differed, but they all have one trait in common – each made an everlasting mark on NASCAR history. NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees – legends all – who exceled in various disciplines, at various levels. RELATED: Photo gallery of the Class of 2016 nominees Among them are three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Evernham; 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Harry Hyde; 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki; winner of a combined 96 NASCAR national series races, Mark Martin; and 1986 NASCAR west series champion Hershel McGriff. For a full list of nominees, please see below. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2016 class will be Wednesday, May 20. The five nominees for the Landmark Award are Harold Brasington, H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically: Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500 Red Byron , first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949 Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series Jerry Cook , six-time NASCAR Modified champion Ray Evernham , three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Ray Fox , legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series Harry Hyde , 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief Bobby Isaac , 1970 NASCAR premier series champion Alan Kulwicki , 1992 NASCAR premier series champion Terry Labonte , two-time NASCAR premier series champion Mark Martin , 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Benny Parsons , 1973 NASCAR premier series champion Larry Phillips , only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion O. Bruton Smith , builder of Charlotte Motor Speedway and architect of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Mike Stefanik , winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships Curtis Turner, early personality, called the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing" Robert Yates , won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner The five nominees for the Landmark Award are as follows… Harold Brasington , founder of Darlington Speedway H. Clay Earles , founder of Martinsville Speedway Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner Ralph Seagraves , formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence The 22-person Nominating Committee are as follows... NOMINATION COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton; Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell; Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook (Note: Due to Jerry Cook's inclusion on the ballot for the NHOF Class of 2015, he was recused from voting for the Class of 2016 nominees.) Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; West Coast representative Ken Clapp. Media: Mike Joy, FOX. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
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
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
Aric Almirola joins the #NASCARGoesWest crew at the Camping World RV to grill and chill in Phoenix. Visit CampingWorld.com to find everything you need for your RV!
Relive some of the best moments from this weekend's races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in this edition of Weekend Top 5 as Austin Dillon dominates the Xfinity race and Kevin Harvick gains his 29th career NSCS win.