Dover, DE (SportsNetwork.com) - A Delaware court has ordered NASCAR driver Kurt Busch to maintain a distance from his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, and not have any contact with her.
In November, Driscoll filed a domestic abuse claim against Busch after he allegedly slammed her head into the wall of his motorhome multiple times last September at Dover International Speedway. She also sought a protection order from Busch in court. Four days of hearings were held from December to January.
According to a decision by Family Court Commissioner David Jones on Monday, Busch must "stay 100 yards away from Petitioner's (Driscoll) person, residence and workplace, except at NASCAR races and related events where closer proximity is required for Respondent (Busch) to perform his duties as a driver or sponsored athlete. On such occasions, Respondent shall maintain the maximum practicable distance from Petitioner and shall not contact or attempt to contact Petitioner."
Jones also made it unlawful for Busch to purchase, receive, transport or possess firearms and ammunition. He also ordered Busch to be "evaluated for mental health problems related to anger control and impulse control by a licensed mental health treatment provider and shall follow any recommendations of the evaluator(s) for counseling or treatment."
The order is set to expire on Feb. 16, 2016.
Busch attorney, Rusty Hardin, said that he will appeal the no-contact order.
The Delaware Attorney General's office has yet to make its decision on criminal charges against Busch. Police conducted a criminal investigation and handed their findings to the attorney general's office for review.
NASCAR has not taken any disciplinary action against Busch, but it continues to closely monitor the situation.
"NASCAR has been closely following the civil proceedings in Kent County (Delaware) Family Court regarding driver Kurt Busch and therefore is aware of the court order issued today," the sanctioning body said in its statement. "We now await the full findings of the Commissioner and any actions by the Attorney General of Delaware related to the allegations against Busch.
"As we stated earlier, NASCAR fully recognizes the serious nature of this specific situation and the broader issue of domestic violence. We will continue to gather information and monitor this situation very closely, and we expect our members to conduct themselves properly."
Busch, the 2004 champion in NASCAR's premier series, is in his second year as driver of the No. 41 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. SHR issued a statement on the court's decision.
"These are serious allegations and we do not take them lightly," SHR executive vice president Joe Custer said in the team release. "We are relying on the authorities in Delaware and their collective experience to identify all the facts. They are the experts in these matters and their decision, specifically the one that will be made by the Attorney General, will determine our course of action."
Last Thursday during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway, Busch addressed his legal issues, particularly the protection order from Driscoll, saying, "We're going close to day 100 as far as all the proceedings go. Normal situations that happen around these types of situations take 30 minutes. So sometimes preferential treatment can go the wrong way.
"We all have to be patient. We all have to understand that there's a process that we have to respect, and the fact that no announcement has come out, each day that goes by continues to be good news."
Busch's team co-owner, Tony Stewart, said during NASCAR Media Day that SHR does have a contingency plan in place if Busch does face criminal charges and is forced out of the car.
"We do, but we're kind of waiting to see," Stewart said. "I'm very hopeful that we won't have to worry about it. I feel bad (Busch) is in that situation right now, and that they're both in that situation. But we have to be smart and we have to have a plan in place if it doesn't work out for whatever reason."