Kurt Busch drove his race car Friday for the first time since he was suspended by NASCAR last month in the face of domestic-violence allegations.
Busch, a 36-year-old former champion, missed the first three races of the Sprint Cup Series season. But with his suspension lifted this week, he'll race Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
"Everything feels good," Busch said in a brief meeting with reporters after his first practice session. "The seat, the belts and just the love from the crew guys. It's nice to see good friends."
Asked how it felt to climb in his car again, Busch replied: "That feeling was home."
Busch drives the No. 41 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, and he was 17th-fastest in the opening practice at the one-mile Phoenix International track.
On the eve of the season-opening Daytona 500 last month, NASCAR suspended Busch indefinitely after a family court commissioner in Delaware found Busch "more likely than not" committed domestic violence against his former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
The commissioner's report was in support of a no-contact order he awarded Driscoll, who alleged she was physically abused by Busch during an incident in his motor home at Delaware's Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26.
Busch denied the allegations and unsuccessfully appealed his suspension.
He then agreed to follow a set of recovery guidelines from NASCAR, which were not disclosed, to be reinstated. And after Delaware prosecutors said last week that they would not pursue criminal charges against Busch, NASCAR lifted the suspension.
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