Team owner Gene Haas had no problem with allowing Kurt Busch to race at Phoenix (VIDEO)


Stewart-Haas Racing’s weekend at Phoenix International Raceway turned out alright in the end as Kevin Harvick won to advance into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Race.

But things started off rocky for SHR on Friday with the allegations of domestic assault against another of its drivers, Kurt Busch.

“The Outlaw” himself did not comment, but his attorney, Rusty Hardin, said the allegations were a “complete fabrication.”

It must be stressed that Busch has not yet been charged for any crime. As for Busch’s boss, SHR co-owner Gene Haas, he said before yesterday’s Eliminator Round finale at PIR that he had no issues with Busch strapping into the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevy.

“He’ll be in the car until someone else pulls him out,” Haas told a group of reporters. “I’m not pulling him out.”

Haas added that the team would let the Dover (Del.) Police Department conduct its investigation into the allegations and “try not to say anything that would compromise that.”

“We want an unbiased investigation and we’ll see how it all plays out,” he said.

In court documents that were filed this past Wednesday, Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, alleged that on Sept. 26 at Dover International Raceway, Busch verbally abused her and then smashed her head three times against the wall inside his motorhome before she escaped to a nearby bus.

Over the weekend, Driscoll’s attorney, Mark Dycio, said in a USA Today report that the reason Driscoll waited as long as she did to file an assault claim was because of a separate custody battle between herself and her ex-husband over her young son, Houston.

While the investigation progresses, Haas doesn’t seem to be worried about potential charges coming against the 2004 Sprint Cup champion.

“The facts I know, I’m not concerned about it,” he said.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.