Thursday, March 05, 2015

COMMENTARY: No Winners In Busch/Driscoll Case

The Delaware Department of Justice announced today that no domestic assault charges will be filed against former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, saying insufficient evidence exists to prove Busch assaulted former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll at Dover International Speedway last September.

“The admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident,” said a written statement from the department today. That “reasonable doubt” threshold is markedly different from the “more likely than not” standard used by a Kent County (Del.) Family Court commissioner in issuing a no-contact order against Busch late last month.

With one legal decision now handed down in favor of each side, both Busch and Driscoll are now free to claim victory, announce their personal vindication and move on with their respective lives. The rest of us are free to put this tawdry chapter of NASCAR history behind us once and for all, turning our attention to happier stories from the race track and garage.

Busch must still remain at least 100 yards from Driscoll for the next 12 months, something he is almost certainly willing – and even happy – to do. With a new female companion on his arm of late, the Stewart Haas Racing driver appears ready, willing and able to move on, both personally and professionally. He and Driscoll will legally be allowed to share the same social circle at NASCAR races and other events, if necessary. Busch will still be required to undergo evaluation for mental health problems related to anger and impulse control, and cannot buy or possess firearms or ammunition for the next year.

Long ago and far away...
Today’s decision clears the way for Busch to continue his road back to full-time NASCAR competition, free from the looming threat of criminal prosecution. It does not, however, answer lingering questions about NASCAR’s handling of the Busch/Driscoll case, or the sport’s official stance regarding domestic violence.

NASCAR must still explain why it chose to suspend Busch indefinitely, after taking no action in a similar case involving former Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil in October of 2013. It must clearly outline how it will handle cases of domestic abuse in the future, and publish clear guidelines regarding what does (and does not) constitute actionable personal behavior in the future. While those decisions can now be made without the tumult and public scrutiny generated by the Busch/Driscoll case, they are no less important today that they were a month ago, and deserve to be addressed.

While both sides will likely claim victory, there are no winners in today's decision. Both Busch and Driscoll have had their personal reputations besmirched and their professional standing damaged. The court of public opinion is bound by neither law nor common sense, and the internet trolls will not easily be dissuaded from their harsh and hurtful opinions.

NASCAR has also taken a public relations hit, finding itself front-and-center in a dispute that generated more accusation than fact, more vitriol than substance.

Thank God it's over.


  1. This looks like NASCAR took this as an opportunity to slap down Busch because of past behavior. He was not treated fairly.

    1. Anonymous8:40 PM

      it's called accountability....he's being held accountable for his actions. It is fair. he brought some of this on by himself. He should have been slapped for comments he has made in the past to two male reporters and one female who asked him a question about a statement he had made about getting into Jimmie Johnson's head. She handed him the quote and he ripped it up. Not a great Representative for the sport. It isn't the 200 pounds that breaks the ice, it's the extra pound that the ice couldn't support. This court case was the extra pound.

      If he passes charm school, he will be back behind the wheel. Hopefully a better person for this experience.

  2. Doug S12:01 PM

    You'll spend four hours today talking about the difference in evidentiary standards between two legal court systems.

    Now that we know he's not facing charges, I'd like to see him complete the road to recovery program and return to racing.

    I'd also like NASCAR to take unilateral action it's taken against Kurt Busch and apply unilateral action against Ms. Drisscol and revoke any credential she has and ban her from all track areas with the exception of General Admission. To assist Kurt in meeting his requirement handed down by the family court in DE.

    1. Absolutely Doug S. ... If NASCAR lets Ms Driscoll continue to roam freely at NASCAR events they are going to find themselves in the middle of more of her unfounded accusations towards Kurt .... and sfter the way she smeared NASCAR'S name on national television her Creds should be pulled for "actions detrimental to stock car racing"

  3. First off I am glad to see that Kurt has been cleared of the criminal charges. Now I just hope that the rest of these proceedings will be completed both quickly and quietly.

    I also hope that NASCAR looks to reverse the ban they imposed on Kurt and we can all get back to racing.

  4. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Unfortunately, NASCAR will not do anything to her! NASCAR is too big for their own britches to admit to doing anything wrong in any fashion! No way are they going to admit the messed this one up! If I was Kurt's lawyer, I wouldn't be sleeping until Kurt is back behind the #41 SHR Chevy and it better be this weekend at Vegas! Her and her lawyer need to be held accountable for the lies and accusations they filed against Kurt if not, what is stopping her and others like her as well as all the other starving lawyers out there from doing stuff like this over and over again? How many careers have to end over stuff like this and the over-reactions to those lies and the harm that over-reactions did?

  5. I know this is just an opinion and opinions are like armpits...everyone has a couple and they both stink from time to time, however, I feel that NASCAR took the correct approach here.

    1. NASCAR did not have a "knee-jerk" reaction to the accusations when they first came out.
    2. Once a "judge" deemed the evidence appeared to be "more likely [true] than not", NASCAR suspended Busch indefinitely, however did NOT state it as a "LIFETIME BAN" (as did other sports as a "knee-jerk" reaction).

    This second step gave NASCAR an option to re-instate Busch should he be vindicated or cleared, and/or completed an appropriate "Road to Recovery" plan.

    I applaud NASCAR for the way this incident was handled and believe NASCAR should be the example for other sports to follow.

  6. Anonymous1:25 PM

    The family court was set up to separate the parties and effectively did so. Proper
    adjudication of the matter has allowed Busch to prevail and removes the process of
    prosecution. NA$CAR and Chevrolet should have waited for the real court to make a decision. They now have egg on their face and should expedite overturning their
    hasty reactionary decisions.

  7. Anonymous1:34 PM

    NASCAR. feet first into the fire

    without boots.

    Nice job.

  8. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Does anyone else find the timing of the family court ruling suspicious

  9. Anonymous4:32 PM

    Something always smelled about this case and the odor was not coming from Kurt Busch. Nascar displayed their typical PC response, totally wrong all the way around. I have to ask what is it that this women has on some people that her bidding is always done. I also think the Billionaires of Nascar were wondering if the $$$$$$ from the Armed Services and any future "tax breaks" received from the government (via the taxpayers) would be in jeopardy if this person (PD) was not obeyed and Kurt (via her wishes) was not 'destroyed'. Way to go Nascar..(sarcasm). Oh and is anybody looking into this woman???? They should.

    1. Anonymous8:55 PM

      I don't understand any of this...if you owned a restaurant and you had a cook that was constantly picking his nose...would you parade him around the dining room?
      Kurt Busch has been picking his nose in public since he got to NASCAR. He has shown a bad light on the sport and the people who represent it. I have fan for over 20 years....I can't think of a time that one driver brought so much negative attention to this sport. His escapades are endless. But NASCAR is the Villain here? I Love this sport and I hope to be able to enjoy it for years to come, but I am a realist...if it doesn't attract drivers that sponsors can get behind, the cars will stop rolling. You have to be more than a great driver, you have to be civil to other people. I have no way of knowing what happened between Patricia Driscoll and Kurt Busch, but Kurt didn't get here in one day...this has been his career on a downward spiral. I respect that you stand behind your driver, but don't knock the very people who paved the way for this racing occupation to exist.

  10. Anonymous6:41 PM

    First off the investigation by Delaware State Officials was not responsible for Nascars suspension of Kurt Bush. Nascar suspends people almost on a daily basis for actions detrimental to stock car racing without a criminal investigation. Kurts handling of the situation and past history probably had more to do with there decision than any investigation. You don't buck Nascar and continue to stay in good faith with them. Just ask Jeremy Mayfield. I have followed Kurts career ever sense He came to Nascar and ninety percent of the time Kurt is one of best guy you have ever seen. It is the ten percent when he goes to the dark side that that got Him where is now.

  11. Anonymous11:43 PM

    It would be quite interesting for someone to do an interview with Patricia's ex-husband. Chances are pretty good that we could all gain some great insight on what Kurt was really up against. As I recall, the whole episode wasn't reported by Patricia in a timely fashion because of an ongoing custody battle. You really have to feel for poor Houston.

  12. Anonymous10:42 AM

    saw someone on Good Morning America. Plenty of attention paid to someone trying to sell a movie. I see a winner.

  13. Anonymous9:11 PM

    As the Godfather said - there is no winner. Kurt has been suspended and there is no road to recovery that says Chevrolet will reinstate him even if Nascar does. He admitted to cupping her chin and said that she hit her head against the wall. That is why the Family Court issued the protective order. Case closed. Moral of the story - if someone enters your home uninvited - you need to file charges for breaking and entering or trespassing. If this had been done immediately - the he said - she said would have been much different, and in my opinion the outcome would have been different as well. However, I do agree that Nascar needs to look at Driscoll's credentials and privileges while on track property to ensure that she is never in a position to violate the order and then make further claims against Kurt. I would think that the Armed Forces Foundation would want her to take a different role given her "fear" of him.