Kurt Busch suspension upheld by NASCAR Final Appeals Officer
Kurt Busch is out of appeals.
NASCAR Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss on Saturday denied Busch’s last-ditch effort to lift an indefinite suspension from all NASCAR activity imposed by the sanctioning body Friday night.
Moss is the former president of Gulfstream Aerospace.
Busch will not race in Sunday’s Daytona 500, and his spot in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet will be filled by Regan Smith in NASCAR’s biggest race.
NASCAR issued a statement late Saturday night, which read, in part:
"Upon hearing tonight’s testimony, Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, made the following decisions:
"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 decision of the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties.
"Kurt Busch now has exhausted his appeal options under the NASCAR Rulebook, and the indefinite suspension remains in effect.
"He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice."
Earlier Saturday, Busch’s suspension appeal was denied by a three-member National Motorsports Appeals Panel at NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida. As a result, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion will miss Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Panel members who ruled on the Busch case were former NASCAR executive Paul Brooks, former racer Lyn St. James and Kevin Whitaker.
Busch was suspended Friday night after Kent County (Delaware) Commissioner David Jones ruled that "it is more likely than not" that Busch "committed an act of abuse" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll during a dispute last Sept. 26, 2014, at Dover International Speedway.
On Monday, Jones ruled in favor of Driscoll’s request, but the full language of his ruling was not published until Friday.
Jones approved Driscoll’s request for a protective order barring Busch from contacting her was released Friday afternoon. In his ruling, Jones said Busch "committed an act of domestic violence" against Driscoll "by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home, thereby recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable fear of physical injury."
"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. He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice," NASCAR said in a statement issued at 6:10 p.m. ET Friday.
Haas has not commented since the Friday suspension, and he may not be willing to pay for the car if Busch is not behind the wheel.
"We haven’t spoken about anything beyond that," SHR executive vice president Brett Frood told the Associated Press.
"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 after Saturday’s final appeal. "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."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.