NASCAR lifts Kurt Busch’s suspension

Posted at 12:51 PM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-11 13:32:50-04

(CNN) — NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has lifted its suspension of driver Kurt Busch, making him eligible to return to the sport immediately — albeit “under indefinite probation.”

Busch was suspended after a Delaware civil court found that he probably committed domestic violence against his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll. She accused the standout driver of grabbing her by the throat and slamming her head against a wall in his motor home at Delaware’s Dover International Speedway in September.

Twice, the NASCAR 2004 Cup champion appealed his indefinite suspension and lost both times. That meant he missed the season-opening Daytona 500 as well as two subsequent Sprint Cup races. But he should be able to compete through the fall, and NASCAR says that it will waive its requirement for him to compete in all championship events.

The case against Busch took a significant turn last month, when the Delaware Department of Justice announced that charges would not be filed against him.

“As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse,” Busch said then. “I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life.”

Still, a Kent County, Delaware, family court commissioner did rule in February that Busch must stay away from Driscoll for a year.

NASCAR officials decided to lift Busch’s suspension because he complied with the requirements of the racing circuit’s reinstatement program, completed behavioral assessments and got the OK from a behavioral health care expert to race again.

Yet he’s not totally out of the woods. In a news release, NASCAR said Busch must “undergo additional steps to address the behavior for which he was penalized.”

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said the lack of charges against Busch expedited his return.

“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,” O’Donnell said.