NASCAR suspension lifted, Kurt Busch makes strong statement in return to racing

After nearly four months of off-track drama, Kurt Busch was finally able to get back into a car and focus only on racing again.

It was liberating for the maligned driver.

Busch made his season debut Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, where he finished fifth in his first race since his NASCAR suspension ended earlier this week.

The 2004 champion was suspended two days before the season-opening Daytona 500 for an alleged domestic assault on an ex-girlfriend. He missed three races and was reinstated after Delaware authorities declined to charge him.

Stewart-Haas Racing promptly returned him to the No. 41 Chevrolet, and he wasted no time earning a strong finish to boost the team that had been patiently awaiting his return.