Kurt Busch focusing on racing amid domestic violence case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Kurt Busch is confident he is in line for his best NASCAR season ever despite a domestic violence case that could keep him off the track.
Busch said Tuesday at NASCAR's annual media tour he is eager for a resolution to the highly-publicized case involving ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, who claims Busch assaulted her in his motorhome at Dover International Speedway last September.
Driscoll claims Busch slammed her head into a wall three times.
Busch has steadfastly denied the allegations, repeating again Tuesday "it's a matter of seeing through things and understanding truth." He has not been charged by authorities, but the Delaware Attorney General's office still has the investigation.
Busch wouldn't say if he's heard from NASCAR about a possible suspension.
"We are waiting on the investigation to find a conclusion," Busch said.
A court ruling on Driscoll's request for a no-contact order is expected any day.
Busch said in the meantime, his focus is on the upcoming Daytona 500 and winning the second straight Sprint Cup championship for Stewart-Haas Racing.
"I feel like 2015 can be the best year that I have ever had with the situation with (crew chief) Tony Gibson and being the second year with the team," Busch said. "My years of experience with teams in the second year have always produced the best result."
He said he doesn't feel the domestic violence case will be a distraction for him or his teammates.
"The team has done a great job of preparing the No. 41 cars," Busch said. "That is where we can't let the distraction on the outside steer us from where the focus needs to be and that's running well at Daytona trying to win the 500."
Busch appeared in court Jan. 14 over Driscoll's request for a no-contact order, where he claimed she is a trained assassin who was dispatched on covert missions around the world. Busch also testified his ex-girlfriend told him she was a mercenary who killed people for a living. He said she showed him pictures of bodies with gunshot wounds and once saw her in a blood-stained dress.
He didn't back off from the claims on Tuesday.
"What I said, I was under oath," Busch said.
Whether Busch is allowed to race this season will likely depend on the outcome of the case. Gene Haas, who hand-picked Busch to drive a car sponsored by Haas, said he believes Busch's testimony and that he will be exonerated. Haas said he hasn't considered suspending his driver.
"Domestic violence is very serious, but at the same time I do believe in due process," Haas said. "At the same time I feel there can be abuses to the system, too."
Driscoll has claimed that Busch abuses alcohol and suffers from depression. He denied it and pointed to his performance in the Indianapolis 500 last May, when he ran both the IndyCar race and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, as proof that he has no issues.
"Obviously it would be difficult to have all of these symptoms and to race at the top levels and finish sixth in the Indy 500 and things like that," Busch said.
Haas said he has seen no evidence of Busch having any problems with alcohol or depression.
"Every time I have been with Kurt Busch at dinner I have never seen him drink," Haas said. "On race weekends when I'm having a beer, he is having water. I never saw that personally, so I think he is a stable person and fun person to be around. Those characterizations I don't believe are true."
Haas said he doesn't have a backup driver lined up in case Busch is suspended.
"We will have to address that if we need to. At the moment we are optimistic and we're staying with that," Haas said.
Busch said he has leaned on his friends at Stewart-Haas Racing to get through the off-track incident, including teammate and co-owner Tony Stewart.
"It's nice to know that people can see through and understand the actual specifics and truth the environment," Busch said.
Associated Press Writer Randall Chase contributed to this report.