Rep. Jackie Speier has written a letter to NASCAR president Mike Helton and Stewart-Haas Racing owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas demanding that they suspend Kurt Busch from Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway until he is cleared of domestic-abuse charges.
Impatient for a decision, the California Democrat wrote that NASCAR and SHR should “suspend Mr. Busch from his weekend’s Championship and adopt a policy going forward in all domestic violence cases to suspend drivers until criminal proceedings end or there is a clear lack of evidence.”
Busch’s former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, accused him of seizing her and battering her face and head three times into a wall in his motor home near Dover International Speedway in Delaware in September. Driscoll reported that the beating left her with severe pain, difficulty breathing, and neck bruising. Busch’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, has denied the allegations.
Speier, herself a victim of violent crime at Jonestown, wrote, “I am disappointed to see that NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing have not taken any action.” She called their response “totally inadequate.”
Although the Dover Police Department has interviewed witnesses, they have not spoken with Busch as of yet; Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Dover PD’s public information officer, said, “We would like to speak with him, obviously. We’re working with Mr. Busch and his legal team to schedule an appointment that we can sit down and talk with him. Whether that’s in person or by videophone, we’re not completely sure yet. It’s just going to depend on their availability at this point.”
Hoffman added that police have not interviewed Busch because Driscoll did not file her domestic assault claim until six weeks after the incident, not because of “who he is or what he does for a living.” Driscoll’s attorney, Mark Dyscio, explained the delay by noting Driscoll is in the midst of a custody battle over her son.
NASCAR responded to the investigation’s announcement last Friday by AP by stating it was “actively gathering information from all parties, including law enforcement authorities and Stewart-Haas Racing.” Meanwhile Busch raced at Phoenix International Raceway for the Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500.
Speier also took aim at NASCAR for refusing to suspend Sprint Cup driver Travis Kvapil in October of 2013. NASCAR placed Kvapil on two years probation and forced him to perform community service for physically abusing his wife. Speier wrote, “It calls into question the enforcement policies exercised by NASCAR.”
Speier wants to be apprised of any internal investigations of NASCAR and SHR conducts, and informed of the “history of sanctions levied by NASCAR and racing teams for domestic violence incidents brought to your attention over the last five years.”