Kurt Busch remains suspended indefinitely after losing final appeal

By The Sports NetworkFeb. 22, 2015 at 1:56 AM
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Kurt Busch's second and last appeal to overturn his indefinite suspension by NASCAR was denied on Saturday night.

Busch presented his position to National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss, the former president of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. NASCAR announced Moss' decision just after 10 p.m. ET.

NASCAR suspended Busch on Friday after a Delaware family court ruled that he committed an act of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll in his motorhome at Dover International Speedway last September.

Busch was found to be in violation of Section 12.1.a (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12.8 (behavioral penalty) of the NASCAR rule book.

On Saturday afternoon, the three-member National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard and considered the initial appeal of Busch, a hearing that last roughly three hours.

According to a statement from the panel, which consisted of former NASCAR executive Paul Brooks, former race car driver Lyn St. James and Greenville Pickens Speedway (S.C.) track owner Kevin Whitaker, "the Appellant (Busch) violated the rules set forth in the penalty notice. The panel therefore decided to uphold the original penalty assessed by NASCAR."

After hearing Busch's testimony, Moss agreed with the panel's decision and noted that Busch's penalty "was within the scope of the guidelines."

Moss' decision comes on the night before the Daytona 500 -- the season-opener for the Sprint Cup Series. Busch, the driver of the No. 41 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing and the 2004 champion in NASCAR's premier series, had qualified 24th for the Daytona 500. Regan Smith, a regular in the Xfinity Series, is scheduled to drive the No. 41 car in the race.

Busch has now exhausted all of his options to be reinstated. He will not be allowed to race or participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice.

Representing NASCAR during both appeal hearings was Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations for the sanctioning body. Per rules of the NASCAR appeal process, Busch was not allowed legal representation during his hearings.

"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." Busch's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement. "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."

Delaware Family Court Commissioner David Jones granted Driscoll a protective order from Busch on Monday. When Jones released his 25-page opinion four days later, he concluded that "more likely than not that on September 26, 2014, Respondent (Busch) committed an act of abuse against Petitioner (Driscoll) by manually strangling (her) 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) motorhome, thereby recklessly causing physical injury to (Driscoll) and recklessly placing (her) in reasonable apprehension of physical injury."

The Delaware Attorney General's office has yet to make its decision on criminal charges against Busch. Police conducted a criminal investigation and handed their findings to the attorney general's office for review in early January.


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