Kurt Busch plans final appeal after NASCAR suspension is upheld

An appeals panel upholds Kurt Busch's indefinite suspension from NASCAR

Kurt Busch's indefinite suspension by NASCAR was upheld by a three-judge appeals panel on Saturday, meaning he has virtually no shot at being able to race in the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

Busch said he will appeal the suspension to Gulfstream President Bryan Moss, NASCAR's final appeals officer, Saturday night. If Moss upholds the decision, Busch will not race Sunday and will remain suspended indefinitely.

Regan Smith is set to fill in as Busch's replacement Sunday. Stewart-Haas Racing earlier announced it would still use Smith even if Busch won his appeal.

Busch's attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement after the panel's decision:

"We are very disappointed that our appeal was rejected by NASCAR's appeal panel. We are re-appealing immediately, per the [prescribed] process. We have significant and strong evidence that contradicts the commissioner’s conclusions. In the end we are confident that Kurt will be vindicated and he will be back racing. Until then we will continue to fight on his behalf by ensuring that the entire truth is known."

Busch represented himself at the hearing and NASCAR was represented by Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations. Former NASCAR executive Paul Brooks, former driver Lyn St. James and Kevin Whitaker, operator of Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, were the panelists.

When the hearing was over, Busch left without speaking to reporters.

Busch was suspended Friday after a family court judge said it was "more likely than not" that the former NASCAR Cup champion committed domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend last fall. Busch has denied the allegations.

In addition to his suspension, Chevrolet immediately cut ties with Busch indefinitely.

Busch had driven the No. 41 Chevrolet for the Stewart-Haas Racing team and was set to start 24th in the 43-car field for the Daytona 500. 

Times staff writer Jim Peltz contributed to this report.

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