Kurt Busch Re-instated; Kyle Busch Recovering
Kurt Busch was reinstated by NASCAR on Wednesday, and he will race this weekend at Phoenix and is eligible for the Chase. With the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges in a domestic violence case involving Busch, the primary impediment to his return to full status as a NASCAR member has been removed.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, said in a statement. “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.
Busch was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on February 20, after the release of a decision following the grant of a protection order against his ex-girlfriend. In the decision, a Delaware county commissioner wrote it was more likely than not that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against Patricia Driscoll on Friday, Sept. 26.
However, the Delaware attorney general announced last week that Busch wouldn't face criminal charges, saying there was insufficient evidence. Following his reinstatement, Busch's team Stewart Haas Racing announced he will be in the No. 41 car for this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Busch's suspension covered three races. Drivers are required to attempt to qualify for each NASCAR race to be eligible for the Chase. However, NASCAR holds the right to grant a waiver for drivers to be eligible for the Chase and has previously done so with Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart. This is the first time NASCAR has used the waiver with a suspension.
Chase eligibility for Busch doesn't seem like that much of a stretch either, provided he wins a race. To make the Chase, a driver must win a race and be in the top 30 in points or have enough points to fill the remaining Chase positions assuming there aren't 16 drivers with wins.
In other Busch family news, after replacing soft casts with walking boots on both of his broken feet, Kurt's brother Kyle Buschtook a "field trip" on Wednesday, down to Kyle Busch Motorsports, the Mooresville, North Carolina-based Camping World Truck Series organization that he and wife Samantha co-own.
Kyle has missed each the season's first three Sprint Cup Series races after suffering a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway February 21.
The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, which is being driven by David Ragan in Busch's absence, has undergone two surgeries since his Daytona wreck and continues to offer no timetable for a return to racing.