Holding pattern: NASCAR monitoring latest developments in Kurt Busch case
NASCAR continues to monitor Kurt Busch’s situation after the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion on Monday was ordered to stay away from ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll for the next year.
"NASCAR has been closely following the civil proceedings in Kent County (Del.) Family Court regarding driver Kurt Busch and therefore is aware of the court order issued today. We now await the full findings of the Commissioner and any actions by the Attorney General of Delaware related to the allegations against Busch," the sanctioning body said Monday afternoon in a news release.
"As we stated earlier, NASCAR fully recognizes the serious nature of this specific situation and the broader issue of domestic violence," the NASCAR release continued. "We will continue to gather information and monitor this situation very closely, and we expect our members to conduct themselves properly."
Earlier on Monday Kent County (Delaware) Court Commissioner David Jones ruled Monday that for the next year Busch must stay 100 yards away from Driscoll except for "at NASCAR races and related events where closer proximity is required" for Busch to "perform his duties as a driver or sponsored athlete." Also Busch can’t buy or possess firearms or ammunition for the next year and must be evaluated for "mental health problems related to anger control and impulse control."
The ruling stems from a disagreement Busch and Driscoll had that took place on Sept. 26, 2014, two nights before the fall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
Driscoll alleged that after an argument, Busch smashed her face three times into a bedroom wall inside Busch’s motorcoach. Busch has emphatically denied the charges, saying he cupped her face and told her she had to leave, and that in the process the back of her head "tapped" the wall of his motorcoach.
The Delaware Attorney General’s Office has been investigating the case since early December, but has not determined whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. On multiple occasions, a spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General has said there is "no timetable" for making a decision on whether or not it will file criminal charges against Busch.
Prior to NASCAR issuing its statement, Stewart-Haas Racing, the team Busch drives for, issued one of its own, attributed to SHR executive vice president Joe Custer. "These are serious allegations and we do not take them lightly," the statement read. "We are relying on the authorities in Delaware and their collective experience to identify all the facts. They are the experts in these matters and their decision, specifically the one that will be made by the Attorney General, will determine our course of action."
Busch attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Monday he will appeal the no-contact order.