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daytona 500


Kyle Busch broke his right leg and left foot after hitting an inside wall during the Xfinity Series race on Saturday, February 21.

The driver will miss the Daytona 500 on February 22 and is out indefinitely.

Kurt Busch’s brother sustained a right lower leg compound fracture and left mid-foot fracture in the crash with eight laps remaining. Joe Gibbs Racing said he was undergoing surgery on his right leg.

Photo FoxSports

Photo FoxSports

On February 21, NASCAR’s final appeals officer upheld Kurt Busch’s indefinite suspension for an alleged domestic assault on ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last fall.

It means the Daytona 500 will not have one of the Busch brothers in the field for the first time since 2000.

Matt Crafton, a two-time Truck Series champion, will replace Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota on February 22 in the season-opening Sprint Cup Series race. It will be Matt Crafton’s Daytona 500 debut.

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Kurt Busch has been indefinitely suspended by NASCAR after a court ruling that he had probably physically abused his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.

The move means Kurt Busch will miss NASCAR’s premier event – the Daytona 500 – on February 22.

A judge in Delaware earlier ruled that it was more likely than not that Kurt Busch abused Patricia Driscoll by “manually strangling her” and smashing her head into a wall last year.

Kurt Busch, 36, was the 2004 Sprint Cup winner.

“Given the serious nature of the findings and conclusions made by the Commissioner of the Family Court of the State of Delaware, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch, effective immediately,” a NASCAR statement said.Kurt Busch and Patricia Driscoll

“He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice,” it said, adding that the driver was aware of the decision.

Patricia Driscoll alleges Kurt Busch grabbed her by the neck in a motor home at Dover International Speedway in Delaware in September and repeatedly hit her head against a wall.

Kurt Busch – who competes for the Stewart-Haas Racing team – has denied the alleged physical assault.

He is the first driver to be suspended by NASCAR for alleged domestic violence.

Kurt Busch’s lawyer Rusty Hardin said: “We are extremely disappointed that NASCAR has suspended Kurt Busch and we plan an immediate appeal.

“We assure everyone, including NASCAR, that this action against Mr. Busch will turn out to be a travesty of justice.”

In 2012, Kurt Busch was temporarily suspended for violating NASCAR’s policy forbidding swearing in public.

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For the second time in her three Daytona 500s, Danica Patrick’s day ended with a crash.

After rain delayed the Daytona 500 for 6 hours, 22 minutes, on Lap 145, Kevin Harvick moved up the track and clipped Brian Scott, triggering a crash involving nine cars.

As Danica Patrick attempted to skirt to the inside, Aric Almirola’s car slid down and tagged her car in the right front. The impact eventually sent her car careening into the outside wall.

“What the hell happened?” asked Danica Patrick, who led two laps before contact with Aric Almirola shot her straight into the wall exiting Turn 4.

Other drivers involved in the wreck were pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Paul Menard, Michael Waltrip, David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne, Marcos Ambrose, Justin Allgaier and Josh Wise.

For the second time in her three Daytona 500s, Danica Patrick's day ended with a crash

For the second time in her three Daytona 500s, Danica Patrick’s day ended with a crash

Paul Menard led a race-high 29 laps before the wreck.

Aric Almirola says he wasn’t sure what happened because the crash.

Later, with the laps winding down in the race, Austin Dillon slid up into Kyle Larson, triggering the second multicar wreck of the evening.

With the pack running through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 161, Austin Dillon lost control of the No. 3 Chevy, turned Larson and slid up until Casey Mears collected Brian Vickers, Michael Annett, Marcos Ambrose, Brian Scott and Jamie McMurray, drawing the fourth caution.

Austin Dillon caused yet another wreck with six laps remaining in the race. He ran into his new teammate Ryan Newman in Turn 3 and ignited a seven-car wreck.

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Danica Patrick is to return this weekend to Daytona 500, the track where she experienced her greatest stock-car moment.

Danica Patrick, 31, just won’t have the car she used to achieve her record-setting feat in the Daytona 500.

She became the first woman to win a pole for a Sprint Cup race and then a week later scored the highest finish for a woman in Daytona 500 history by placing eighth. But she wrecked her Daytona car in May at Talladega Superspeedway.

Danica Patrick will instead have the car she tested with at Daytona in January and again at a Goodyear tire test there in April.

“We lost that poor [pole-winning] car at Talladega, so we are going back with our backup, which is a really good car anyway,” Danica Patrick said.

“We tested with it at the beginning of the year, and I expect it to go in a similar fashion. I think we will still be pretty fast.

“Will we qualify on the pole and run in the top three or [top] five all day? I don’t know. Maybe.”

Danica Patrick ran third throughout the race but got shuffled back to eighth on the final lap of the Daytona 500.

“The heat always changes things a little bit, but it’s a different car and it’s going to be a different Hendrick engine,” Danica Patrick said.

“All that stuff just leads to a slightly different weekend. But I expect it to be somewhat similar, at least from a good standpoint in my head.”

That’s important, considering it hasn’t been the best of seasons for Danica Patrick, who is 27th in the Cup standings and has not had another top-10 finish and just two other top-20 finishes in her first full-time Cup season.

Danica Patrick is to return this weekend to Daytona 500, the track where she experienced her greatest stock-car moment

Danica Patrick is to return this weekend to Daytona 500, the track where she experienced her greatest stock-car moment

Given her ability to go fast on restrictor-plate tracks, her Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief believes she can win at Daytona this weekend.

“We felt like we had a shot to win it [in February], ran in the top three or four all day and had a fast car, and it came down to the last lap and [she] kind of got snookered a little bit there at the end,” crew chief Tony Gibson said.

“We felt like we were definitely in contention to win it, so we’re going back there with the same mindset, to try to be the fastest car in qualifying and try to close the deal at the end of this thing.”

Danica Patrick said that all of the advice she has gotten after the Daytona 500 is that she really didn’t do anything wrong on the final lap. She was more a victim of circumstance.

“I was just frustrated that I didn’t have a better plan,” Danica Patrick said.

“Tony [Stewart] said to me, <<I really feel like you had more to lose in your position than you had to gain by trying something, so I think that you did the right thing>>.

“That made me feel better – a little bit. Was I still mad that I went from third to eighth on the lap? No, [but] I was still disappointed in it.”

It’s disappointing whenever a driver has a chance to win and doesn’t capitalize. But for Danica Patrick, it also was disappointing because her IndyCar background helps more at Daytona than possibly any other track.

Danica Patrick knows that a good finish can help relieve pressure on her team throughout the season.

“It’s obviously a track that we feel like we can win at,” Tony Gibson said.

“I feel like that’s right in Danica’s wheelhouse there. She likes the drafting. She likes the high speeds, and I think most of that comes from the IndyCar side of it. … We work hard every week, but when it comes to the restrictor-plate racing, especially going to Daytona, we go all out.

“We put every little thing we can into those cars, because we know that that’s a track that we can win at and we can really do some damage, on the good side.”

Tony Gibson and his crew aren’t used to so much pressure. Many worked at Dale Earnhardt Inc. with Dale Earnhardt Jr., but even Tony Gibson admits that the worldwide celebrity of Danica Patrick is different.

“You want your performance to be good because you don’t want to let your fans down,” Tony Gibson said.

“You don’t want to let her fans down.

“When you’ve got to look a little girl in the eye and she asks you what happened last week or why didn’t Danica win, it’s pretty hard to come up with an answer that’s going to satisfy a little girl.”

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