NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR will let legal process play out for Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. Getty Images

Chairman Brian France announced Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway that NASCAR will not take any disciplinary action against Kurt Busch until police complete their investigation of the domestic assault allegations brought against the driver.

Last week, police in Dover, Delaware, announced they are investigating Busch’s former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll’s accusation of domestic violence. Driscoll alleges Busch verbally and physically abused her, including hitting her head against the wall three times, in his motor home outside of Dover-International Speedway on Sept.26.

Busch, 36, who drives for Stewart-Haas racing, qualified second in Friday’s time trial results for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400.

No charges have been filed against Busch, and France said in a news conference Friday that NASCAR is closely monitoring the case.

“It’s under review by law enforcement and others, and they have not made a decision on that regarding Kurt,” France said. “So until they make some judgments on that investigation, it wouldn’t be right of us to just intervene before they’ve even gotten the investigation completed. So that’s our position. We’ll respect their process, it’s in their hands.”

France also said charges brought against Busch “will change our equation. … But we ought to have a process that gets to the bottom of the facts before anybody does anything.”

In a letter addressed to NASCAR president Mike Helton and team owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco) called for Busch’s suspension from Sunday’s season finale.

Speier also urged Helton to change NASCAR’s domestic violence rule — which exists nestled under the association’s general behavior clause, not as a separate policy — to suspend any driver accused of domestic violence until criminal proceedings end.

France said NASCAR is sensitive to the nation’s increased focus on domestic violence as an issue in athletics, and the association’s current policy shows that.

ECOBOOST 300

Brad Keselowski will drive the No.22 car for Penske Racing in Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 Nationwide Series race in place of Sprint Cup title contender Joey Logano.

Logano was originally assigned the No.22 car, but Penske Racing preferred the driver focus solely on chasing the championship in Sunday’s race. Having Keselowski drive as the replacement also gives Penske a good chance to clinch the Nationwide team championship.

Keselowski said he was happy to do whatever he could to contribute to a team win.

Desipte Logano’s absence, the EcoBoost 300 isn’t lacking all-stars: Keselowski is the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth is the 2003 champion, and Kyle Busch owns a record 70 wins in the Nationwide series, including seven in 25 starts this year.

Promising rookie Kyle Larson rounds out the group of drivers to watch in the 300-mile, 200-lap race.

The EcoBoost 300 is set to start at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, qualifying rounds are set to begin at 1:15 p.m.

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