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NASCAR View: NASCAR needs to suspend Kurt Busch over restraining order

Posted On Monday, 16 February 2015 19:00 Written by
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The time has come for NASCAR to act.

The ugly saga of Kurt Busch and Patricia Driscoll's relationship reached a new turning point this week when a judge issued a court order saying that Busch must stay at least 100 yards away from his ex-girlfriend Driscoll and not attempt to contact her.

Busch also was ordered to be evaluated for mental health problems related to anger and impulse control.


The court case stems from an incident during the Dover race weekend last fall, during which Driscoll claims Busch got physical. No criminal charges have been filed yet in the case, but a decision will be coming on that soon.

So now the ball is in NASCAR's court.

There are two ways to approach this. The first one is to be cautious and wait to see if criminal charges are launched against Busch in the incident.

That's what NASCAR is saying at the moment.
"NASCAR has been closely following the civil proceedings in Kent County 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. As we stated earlier, NASCAR fully recognizes the serious nature of this specific situation and the broader issue of domestic violence. We will continue to gather information and monitor this situation very closely, and we expect our members to conduct themselves properly."

Stewart-Haas Racing echoed that statement:
"These are serious allegations and we do not take them lightly. 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."

They are both wrong.

The fact that this court order for Busch to stay away from Driscoll was issued means the judge was convinced that Busch has enough anger issues that Driscoll has legitimate reason to be scared for her safety. True, no criminal charges have been filed at this point, but the order is a good indication that something went awry that night and Busch has some issues to sort out.

To be fair, both Busch and Driscoll appear to have brought their own level of drama to this relationship, but if there is an indication that Busch engaged in physical violence, it can not be tolerated by NASCAR.

The proactive thing for NASCAR to do would be to suspend Busch from competition, effective immediately, until a determination is made by the attorney general about charges. If he is charged, that suspension should be extended. If he is not, it should be lifted.

But to play the waiting game on this is the wrong approach. A court order of this nature is not issued for no reason. It's reason enough to assume Busch hasn't "conducted himself properly", to some extent, and that justifies a suspension.

It's not a rush to judgment, it's just common sense -- better safe than sorry is the best way to think in this situation.

After the NFL's botched, delayed handling of the Ray Rice abuse case, NASCAR needs to be proactive and handle it the opposite of the way the NFL did. Otherwise they'll end up looking just as foolish if he is found to have committed any violence against Driscoll.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu. Follow AutoTechReviews on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or on Facebook at

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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