Ex-NASCAR champ Kurt Busch loses appeals, to miss Daytona 500

Posted at 11:20 PM, Feb 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-21 23:44:22-05

DAYTONA, Fla. -- Kurt Busch, NASCAR's 2004 Cup champion, lost both appeals of his indefinite suspension and will miss Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500, the auto racing circuit said late Saturday.

Busch twice challenged NASCAR's decision Friday to ban him after a Delaware civil court found he likely committed domestic violence against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.

An initial appeal was denied by a three-member panel. A second request for reinstatement was heard Saturday by NASCAR's final appeals officer and also denied. NASCAR has not announced what Busch will have to do to be reinstated.

Busch's attorney said after the first appeal was denied that his client will challenge the court's decision.

"We will continue to exhaust every procedural and legal remedy we have available to us until Kurt Busch is vindicated. 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," Rusty Hardin said.

The suspension was announced Friday after the family court's decision.

Hardin said then that the court's decision "will turn out to be a travesty of justice."

NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell told reporters Friday: "NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership ... that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated."

Busch was accused by Driscoll of grabbing her by the throat and slamming her head into a wall three times while they were in Busch's motor home at Dover International Speedway in October. The commissioner in the civil case found her story to be true, ESPN reported. Hardin has said Driscoll lied during her testimony and she had tried to intimidate witnesses.

Busch has not been charged with a crime.

In 2004, Busch captured the Cup series title, winning the first postseason 10-race tournament in NASCAR's top division. He has also won titles in the second-level series (now known as the Xfinity Series) and the truck series.

His Cup team, Stewart-Haas Racing, said Regan Smith would replace him in the No. 41 car on Sunday. Busch's brother, Kyle, also will not race Sunday, and perhaps for months. He was injured Saturday in a hard crash during an Xfinity Series race.