NASCAR reinstates Kurt Busch; grants him waiver for Chase
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — NASCAR lifted its suspension of Kurt Busch on Wednesday and ruled the former champion can compete in the title series if he qualifies.
Busch missed the first three races of the season when NASCAR suspended him for an alleged domestic assault on his ex-girlfriend. He was suspended for two days before the season-opening Daytona 500, and lost two rounds of appeals the day before the race.
The Delaware attorney general last week declined to charge Busch for the September incident with Patricia Driscoll.
NASCAR said Busch complied with all requirements of the program, but is under indefinite probation.
“We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior,” NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said when it became clear Busch would not be charged, it “removed a significant impediment” to his reinstatement.
“The health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return,” O’Donnell said.
Busch will return to his Stewart-Haas Racing team this weekend at Phoenix.
He still must comply with guidelines set by Family Court Commissioner David Jones, who granted the no-contact order for Driscoll that led to his Feb. 20 suspension. Jones wrote in his opinion that he believed there’s a real possibility Busch will lash out again, and has a propensity to lose control in response to disappointing or frustrating situations involving racing.
Jones ordered Busch to be evaluated to see if there is a “treatable mental health condition.”
Busch is appealing Jones’ ruling, and NASCAR will allow that to play out.