Kurt Busch was suspended indefinitely Friday by NASCAR for “actions detrimental to stock car racing.”
Busch assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, on September 26, 2014, in Delaware.
From NASCAR’s statement:
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.
Driscoll requested a protective order Monday and the Kent County (Del.) family court commissioner granted it.
Busch was scheduled to race in Sunday’s Daytona 500. He was to begin in the 24th position.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. Busch Smashed Driscoll’s Head Against His Motor Home Wall
A Kent County (Del.) family court commissioner concluded Friday Busch smashed Driscoll’s head against his motor home wall Sept. 26, 2014, at Dover International Speedway.
Said Driscoll in a statement:
For victims of domestic violence there are no victories. My only hope is that the pain and trauma I suffered through this process will help other victims find their voice.
Busch will be required “to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional” and complete any further steps for treatment that professional recommends.
Shortly after word of the suspension got out, someone wrote “#41 Ray Rice” in marker on the glass outside of Busch’s garage at Daytona International Speedway. Busch drives the No. 41 Haas Automation/State Water Heaters Chevrolet SS.
2. Busch’s Attorney Will Appeal The Suspension
Busch’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the suspension will be appealed.
In a statement, Hardin said:
We are extremely disappointed that NASCAR has suspended Kurt Busch and we plan an immediate appeal. 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.”
It’s possible an appeal could happen before Sunday’s race.
The date for the appeal would be set after Busch files formal notice and pays the $500 fee.
Hardin is no stranger to high-profile cases involving athletes. He defended Roger Clemens in his steroids trial and more recently Adrian Peterson, who was charged with child abuse.
3. He Is The 1st NASCAR Driver Suspended For Domestic Violence
Busch is the first driver NASCAR has suspended for domestic abuse.
In 2013, Travis Kvapil was arrested and charged with assault of his wife, but NASCAR took no action against him.
Kvapil qualified second for Friday night’s Truck Series race in Daytona.
4. This Is Busch’s 3rd Career Suspension
This is not the first time Busch has been in trouble, but it’s certainly the most serious.
In 2012, NASCAR suspended him for threatening a reporter.
He was also suspended in 2005 by Roush-Fenway Racing after being pulled over by police in Arizona. Busch missed the final two races that season.
5. Regan Smith Will Replace Busch
Regan Smith has been tabbed to replace Busch in the No. 41 Haas Automation/State Water Heaters Chevrolet SS for the Stewart-Haas Racing team in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Smith is an Xfinity Series regular, but has lots of Sprint Cup experience.
He drove team owner Tony Stewart’s No. 14 car last season at Watkins Glen International.
After news of the ruling broke, Chevrolet quickly severed its connection to the 36-year-old driver. In a statement, Chevy VP of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles Jim Campbell said:
Chevrolet 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.
Other SHR drivers are Stewart, Danica Patrick and Kevin Harvick.