Less than a week after handing down an indefinite suspension to former Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, NASCAR will now require members to report any violation of the law to the sanctioning body within 72 hours.
Busch was suspended last week after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner ruled that the Stewart Haas Racing driver "more likely than not committed an act of abuse" against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll at Dover International Speedway last September.
Wednesday, NASCAR issued a number of technical bulletins to it teams, including a new Section 2.11 of the national and weekly racing series rulebooks requiring "any NASCAR Member charged with any violation of the law (misdemeanor and/or felony) (to) notify NASCAR ... prior to the next scheduled event or within 72 hours of being so charged, whichever is earlier."
NASCAR director of racing operations and communications Tom Bryant told FOXSports.com that the sanctioning body “expect(s) our NASCAR members to maintain a certain standard of professional behavior,” calling the new rule “another mechanism to ensure we're doing that.”
While saying last week’s court ruling was not "the sole reason" for the change, Bryant said Busch’s situation revealed a need for NASCAR to be better informed when competitors come in contact with law enforcement.
"We didn't have a mechanism to get a better situational awareness when our membership makes poor judgment and gets in trouble," said Bryant to FOXSports.com. "...There was a knowledge gap there that we needed to address and put a mechanism in place to hopefully improve our awareness… and ensure that we are helping our membership maintain those standards of conduct that are expected of everyone."
Busch remains suspended by sanctioning body this week, pending the outcome of a criminal investigation conducted by the Dover (Del.) Police Department. Results of that investigation have been forward to the State’s Attorney for possible action. No timetable has been announced for the decision.
NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said last week that the sanctioning body "has made it very clear to our entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry. Any inference that there is a culture or a tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false."
Busch has not commented publicly on his suspension.