NASCAR reinstates Kurt Busch


Feb 21, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch leaves his appeal hearing at NASCAR headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR lifted the indefinite suspension on Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch, according to a release from NASCAR on Wednesday. Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR on Feb. 20 after ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll was granted a no-contact order against Busch following domestic abuse allegations made against Busch by Driscoll.

While Delaware Family Court ruled in favor of Driscoll last month, the Delaware Attorney General’s office announced last week that criminal charges would not be filed against Busch.

"“As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch’s return to full status as a NASCAR member,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell said. “We, therefore, have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension, and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return.”"

The Sprint Cup Series season will run its fourth points-paying race of the season Sunday — the Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. It will be the first points race of the season for which Busch will be eligible after missing races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR’s rules regarding eligibility for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship postseason call for drivers to compete in all 26 races of the “regular season,” but NASCAR reserves the right to make exceptions for extenuating circumstances. To gain entry into the Chase drivers alse are expected to be in the top-30 of the driver points standings at the conclusion of the 26-race “regular season” or be high enough in the points standings to gain one of the remaining Chase spots not filled by race winners.

NASCAR, in its announcement on Wednesday, granted Busch a waiver, still making him Chase eligible, despite missing three races. To get into the Chase, though, he still will have to remain in the top-30 in points and either win a race or be high enough in the standings to claim one of the final Chase spots.

Busch will remain under indefinite probation by NASCAR and will continue requirements made by the sanctioning body that include participation in a treatment program and compliance with any possible judicial requirements.

Stewart-Haas Racing, the team for which Busch raced the No. 41 Chevrolet prior to the suspension, released a statement of its own following NASCAR’s announcement.

"“We appreciate the steps Kurt Busch has made while following NASCAR’s process for reinstatement,” the statement from Stewart-Haas Racing Executive Vice President Joe Custer read. “He has taken this path seriously, which allowed him to return to our race team. With his reinstatement and the conclusion by the Delaware Attorney General to not file charges, our focus is on the future.”"

NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Regan Smith has been filling in for Busch in the No. 41 car since the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22.

Chevrolet also indefinitely suspended Busch immediately following the announcement of NASCAR’s suspension of the driver in February. Following suit again, the manufacturer reinstated Busch shortly after he was reinstated by NASCAR.

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Also, take an online polle regarding Busch’s eligibility, here.