Kurt Busch’s second and final appeal following his indefinite suspension from NASCAR has been denied by Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer. On Friday, Busch was suspended indefinitely after a Kent County (Delaware) Family Court Commissioner found that Busch had “more likely than not” committed an act of domestic abuse against ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September.
Busch first appealed early on Saturday near Daytona International Speedway to a three-member National Motorsports Appeals Panel to have his suspension rescinded, denying the allegations from Driscoll, but that appeal was denied. The original panel included NASCAR executive Paul Brooks, Greenville-Pickens Speedway owner Kevin Whitaker, and former driver Lyn St. James.
“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,” said Busch’s attorney Rusty Hardin. “Along the way we intend to continue to call attention to the facts and witnesses that will shed light on Ms. Driscoll’s true character, motivations and history.”
Busch, who was scheduled to start 24th in Sunday’s Daytona 500, will be replaced by NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Regan Smith. It has not yet been announced who will replace Busch beyond Daytona, or even if team owner Gene Haas will continue to fund the car. Haas currently funds the team himself after specifically choosing Busch to drive for Stewart Haas Racing. Whether or not Haas will
continue to do so with a driver other than Busch remains to be seen.
NASCAR suspended Busch after determining he had violated Section 12.1.a (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12.8 (behavioral penalty).
NASCAR released a statement saying that Moss decided the following: “The appellant violated the Rules set forth in the penalty notice and the decision of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel was correct; The penalty was within the scope of the guidelines; The National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer upholds the original penalty levied by NASCAR.”
The conclusion from the court follows accusations from Driscoll that Busch physical assaulted her at Dover International Speedway in September 2014 “by manually strangling (Driscoll) with his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand against her chin and face, causing her head to forcefully strike the interior wall of (Busch)’s motor home.” The conclusion was written by Commissioner David Jones.
The decision came just a few hours after Busch’s brother, Kyle, suffered a right lower-leg compound fracture and left mid-foot fracture in the Xfinity Series race at Daytona. Busch was taken to Halifax Health-Medical Center following the crash and it was announced shortly thereafter that a return date had not yet been determined. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton will serve as a replacement in tomorrow’s Daytona 500. A replacement beyond tomorrow has not yet been announced.
Sunday’s Daytona 500 will be the first race since the 2001 November race at Atlanta Motor Speedway that will not have either Busch brother in the field.