NASCAR driver Kurt Busch remains suspended from competition despite an announcement Thursday by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office that it will not pursue criminal charges against him for an alleged act of domestic violence last year against his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll.
In a statement, NASCAR said the decision by Delaware authorities, however, “removes a significant impediment to his reinstatement.”
Busch still will have to complete the terms of his reinstatement process, which he agreed to this week.
Busch said he was “grateful” prosecutors did not file charges.
“I wish to thank my family, friends, fans and race team, who stood by me throughout this nightmare with their unwavering support. Thanks also goes to my legal team for making sure that the truth got out and was fully provided to the prosecutors,” he said in a statement. “As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse. I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life.”
Driscoll issued a statement in which she said she respected the process but was disappointed “full justice wasn’t served here.”
“My family and I take a measure of solace in the Order of Protection From Abuse granted by commissioner (David) Jones, who ruled my account of the facts was the most credible,” she said. “At great risk to my personal and professional reputation, I have spoken candidly, at length, and on the record, to a variety of outlets in an effort to correct the distortions and sensationalism that have unfortunately marked the coverage of this painful time in my family’s life.”
The Attorney General’s decision comes more than three months after receiving an investigation from the Dover (Del.) Police Department regarding the incident, which was first reported by Driscoll on Nov. 5 – nearly six weeks after it allegedly occurred.
“After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident,” said Carl Kanefsky, the department’s public information officer.
Busch was suspended by NASCAR on Feb. 20 after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court commissioner issued his opinion detailing the domestic violence acts allegedly committed by Busch against Driscoll. The commissioner found “by a preponderance of the evidence” that Busch committed an act of domestic violence against Driscoll.
In a 25-page written opinion, a copy of which was obtained by the Observer, Jones said he believed Busch “manually strangled” Driscoll during a confrontation in his motorhome on Sept. 26, 2014, at Dover International Speedway. The commissioner also said he believed there was “substantial likelihood” Busch could commit similar incidents again.
Busch went through two expedited appeals, but NASCAR’s suspension was upheld and the driver has yet to run a race with his No. 41 Stewart-Haas team.
Xfinity Series driver Regan Smith has been filling in and will do so again in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
SHR officials did not return a request for comment. Chevrolet, which cut tires with Busch when he was suspended, said its stance has not changed but would continue to monitor the situation.
The Dover Police Department originally investigated Driscoll’s complaint but elected to send its findings to the state’s Attorney General with no recommendation.
Among the restrictions placed on Busch by the protective order: He cannot threaten or harass Driscoll or attempt to contact her; he must not come within 100 yards of Driscoll’s person or workplace; and he must be evaluated for “mental health problems” and follow any recommendations by the evaluator.
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