NASCAR announced on Wednesday that it has reinstated controversial driver Kurt Busch. Busch will be in the driver's seat this Sunday of his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
"As we stated last week, the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges removed a significant impediment to Kurt Busch's return to full status as a NASCAR member.
"We therefore have decided to move him to indefinite probation and waive the Chase requirement. He has fully complied with our reinstatement program during his suspension and the health care expert who conducted his evaluation recommended his immediate return.
"We have made it very clear to Kurt Busch our expectations for him moving forward, which includes participation in a treatment program and full compliance with all judicial requirements as a result of his off-track behavior," NASCAR executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said in a statement.
Busch's ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll also issued a brief statement.
"Even though Kurt remains on indefinite probation under this decision, I'm deeply concerned about the message NASCAR is sending by letting him compete for the championship after he was found by a judge to have committed an act of domestic violence.
"But I am gratified, at least, that NASCAR's decision comes with the mandatory condition that he follow through on the treatment he so clearly needs.
"My work with the Armed Forces Foundation on veteran treatment courts has made me a strong believer in the rehabilitation process. But it has also taught me that rehabilitation takes time and can only come after you've taken full responsibility for your actions," Driscoll said.
"We appreciate the steps Kurt Busch has made while following NASCAR's process for reinstatement. He has taken this path seriously, which allowed him to return to our race team," Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Joe Custer said about the 2004 NASCAR champion.
Chevrolet also announced it would continue to sponsor Busch's No. 41.
"Now that Kurt Busch has been reinstated by NASCAR and is able to fulfill his obligations associated with our agreement, we have lifted our suspension and will continue to monitor the situation," Chevrolet vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports Jim Campbell said in a statement.