Former NASCAR Champ Kurt Busch Loses Suspension Appeal

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(CNN) — Kurt Busch, NASCAR’s 2004 Cup champion, lost his initial appeal of his indefinite suspension, the auto racing circuit said Saturday.

Busch will again challenge NASCAR’s decision to ban him after a Delaware civil court found he likely committed domestic violence against a former girlfriend.

Busch’s attorney said they were disappointed in the three-member panel’s decision to uphold NASCAR’s sanctions.

“In the end, we are confident that Kurt will be vindicated and he will be back racing,” Rusty Hardin said. “Until then, we will continue to fight on his behalf by ensuring that the entire truth is known.”

NASCAR said Busch’s second appeal will be heard Saturday night. The Daytona 500, the season-opening points race, will start Sunday afternoon.

The suspension came after a family court determined Busch committed an act of domestic violence against his former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, NASCAR officials said.

Hardin said the court’s decision “will turn out to be a travesty of justice.”

NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell told reporters: “NASCAR has made it very clear to our entire membership … that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated.”

Busch was accused by Driscoll of grabbing her by the throat and slamming her head into a wall three times while they were in Busch’s motor home at Dover International Speedway in October. The commissioner in the civil case found her story to be true, ESPN reported. Hardin has said Driscoll lied during her testimony and she had tried to intimidate witnesses.

Busch has not been charged with a crime.

In 2004, Busch captured the Cup series title, winning the first postseason 10-race tournament in NASCAR’s top division. He has also won titles in the second-level series and the truck series.

His Cup team, Stewart-Haas Racing, said Regan Smith would replace him in the No. 41 car on Sunday.

By Steve Almasy

CNN’s Quand Thomas contributed to this report.