by Scott Aberdeen | Top Right Sports
Just two days before the flagship Daytona 500 race, NASCAR has suspended Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch “indefinitely” for actions detrimental to stock car racing, in a Friday announcement.
Earlier Friday it was ruled that Busch smashed his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll’s head against his motor home wall Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway, according to the conclusions of a Kent County (Del.) family court commissioner who granted Driscoll’s request for a protective order Monday.
This is the first time NASCAR has ever taken such a step over domestic abuse allegations. Busch has strongly denied the allegations, and made counter-allegations of abuse against Driscoll.
“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,” NASCAR said in a statement. “He will not be allowed to race nor 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 timetable of the authorities involved.”
NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said Friday that NASCAR would expedite any appeal by Busch. An expedited appeal could occur before the race Sunday.
Analysts says NASCAR’s “unprecedented” actions were “clearly influenced” by incidents in the NFL this past season, particularly with former Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice, and criticism the NFL received for its delayed response.
“As we stated last year, NASCAR fully recognized the serious nature of the specific situation involving Kurt Busch and really the broader issue of domestic violence,” said O’Donnell, who did not take questions from the media during a brief news conference. “Based on our review of the available details, including the court’s findings that were released earlier today, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch.”
O’Donnell, who resigned his spot on the board of Driscoll’s Armed Forces Foundation late last year, disputed comments from Driscoll that indicated that other women in the NASCAR industry have been abused by others in the NASCAR community.
“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. “We want to make it clear that any inference that there is a culture or tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false.”
Busch had been scheduled to race Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, where he was slated to start 24th in the Daytona 500, the sport’s biggest event.
“We understand NASCAR’s position regarding Kurt Busch and accept their decision,” Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer said in a statement. “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.”
Chevrolet was quick to cut ties with Busch following NASCAR’s announcement.
“Chevrolet has suspended its relationship with Kurt Busch indefinitely,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary.”
Prior to this breaking news, Driscoll sat down with GMA’s Michael Strahan to discuss her allegations — and his: