NASCAR reinstates Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch

NASCAR lifted its suspension of Kurt Busch and announced Wednesday that he will be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer issued a statement welcoming the 2004 champion back to the team. Busch will return to the No. 41 car this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

"We appreciate the steps Kurt Busch has made while following NASCAR's process for reinstatement," Custer said in a statement. "He has taken this path seriously, which allowed him to return to our race team."

Busch missed the first three races of the season. He was indefinitely suspended two days before the Daytona 500 after a Delaware family court commissioner determined that the preponderance of the evidence during a hearing for a protective order showed he committed an act of domestic violence Sept. 26 against ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll at Dover International Speedway. The Delaware attorney general's office announced last week that it would not press criminal charges, citing an inability to be able to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt — a much higher burden of proof than Driscoll faced in obtaining the protective order.

"As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch's return to full status as a NASCAR member," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell 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 will continue with a treatment program, O'Donnell said.

"We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior," O'Donnell said.

Chevrolet, a major sponsor of SHR, had suspended its personal services agreement with Busch at the time of his NASCAR suspension. While not necessarily required to have that agreement with Chevy to drive for SHR, Busch's deal with Chevrolet was reinstated Wednesday.

"Now that Kurt Busch has been reinstated by NASCAR and is able to fulfill his obligations associated with our agreement, we have lifted our suspension and will continue to monitor the situation," Chevrolet vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports Jim Campbell said in a statement.

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