Congresswoman calls on NASCAR to suspend Kurt Busch


With former Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch facing allegations of domestic assault, California congresswoman Jackie Speier (Democrat, House of Representatives) has called upon NASCAR to suspend him.

In a letter to NASCAR President Mike Helton and Stewart-Haas Racing co-owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, Speier said that she was “disappointed” that neither the sanctioning body nor SHR have taken any actions as of now, and that such decisions were “totally inadequate.”

The full letter can be found here and references several of Busch’s past “anger management issues,” including his blow-up at ESPN reporter Dr. Jerry Punch at the 2011 season finale and his suspension for the June 2012 race at Pocono following a post-race tirade at Dover toward Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass.

Speier also brings up how NASCAR chose not to suspend Travis Kvapil after he was charged with misdemeanors of false imprisonment and assault in the fall of 2013; this past February, Kvapil pleaded guilty as part of an agreement where the case will be dismissed if he serves two years of probation and does some community service.

The final paragraph has Speier urging Helton, Stewart, and Haas to suspend Busch for this weekend’s Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and “adopt a policy going forward in all domestic violence cases to suspend drivers until criminal proceedings end or there is a clear lack of evidence.”

NASCAR Chairman Brian France addressed the subject during his press conference today at Homestead.

“What’s not lost on us by any stretch is the rightful heightened awareness on domestic abuse and violence, and so you can expect our policies to reflect the understandable awareness that that’s not going to be tolerated,” he said.

“The past of how any league might have handled some of this is one thing. It’s pretty clear when you see what’s happening around the country and in some of the other leagues that our policy will reflect the significance and importance that it should.”

As for Speier’s letter, France said he was not surprised to see members of Congress having “strong views on what what we should and shouldn’t do” considering the heightened awareness of domestic violence in recent times.

However, he feels the sanctioning body needs to let the ongoing investigation play out before it makes a decision to punish him.

“We are watching that case carefully, and they are – it’s under review by law enforcement and others, and they have not made a decision on that regarding Kurt,” he said. “So until they make some judgments on that investigation, it wouldn’t be right of us to just intervene before they’ve even gotten the investigation completed. So that’s our position.

“We’ll respect their process. It’s in their hands.”

Busch has not yet been charged formally with any crime.

In court documents, Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, has stated that on Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway, Busch verbally abused her and then slammed her head against a wall three times inside his motorhome before she escaped to a nearby bus.

Busch’s attorney has called the allegations a “complete fabrication,” while Haas himself has said he would not pull Busch out of the No. 41 SHR Chevrolet.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change