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Friday the 13th came a week late for NASCAR ne’er do well Kurt Busch. A Delaware court issued a restraining order after finding he’d “strangled” his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and repeatedly banged her head into the wall of his motor home at Dover International Speedway in September, 2014. In issuing the no contact order, the judge cited “a substantial likelihood of acts of domestic violence” by Busch in the future. Judging by his past bad acts including making threats, brawling on pit lane and run-ins with the police, if NASCAR has any sense at all then Busch’s career is kaput.
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Busch was immediately suspended by NASCAR for the third time, dropped by engine manufacturer Chevrolet and faces pending criminal charges over the incident, as well. Busch’s attorney Rusty Hardin said they plan to appeal the decision with NASCAR, calling the court proceedings a “travesty of justice.” He boldly predicted Busch will be “fully vindicated and back in the driver’s seat.” The court order and suspension have assured that won’t be the case at least for Sunday’s season opening Daytona 500.
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It’s the Indianapolis 500 that’s our concern. With problems aplenty before adding an interloping instigator from a competing series, IndyCar and the Indy 500 don’t need Kurt Busch’s dark cloud dampening the ceremonies in May. Recall that Andretti Autosport fielded a car for Busch in last year’s 500 and had a top five finish. In January and in spite of Busch’s legal entanglement, Michael Andretti said he remains a “big supporter” of Busch and hopes to “still run him” at Indianapolis this year. IRR published a scathing piece on Andretti’s highly questionable comments at the time, wondering what on earth Andretti was thinking.
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Happily, the court order and NASCAR’s belated suspension have made Andretti’s foolish notion all but a moot point for May. Kicked out of the car by his series, shelved by his sponsor and facing more legal sanctions, Busch removed himself from the list of potential Indy 500 starters. With a history of violent outbursts and juvenile behavior, Busch’s self disqualification is good news for anyone who loves the greatest spectacle in racing, its proud traditions and its sacred history. The Indy 500 is better off without him. As we’ve long argued, American racing in general will be, too.
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