NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Haas Hopeful for Chase Eligibility

While most fans are questioning when or where Kurt Busch will return to NASCAR, car owner Gene Haas has a different question.

Will he be able to make the Chase?

“At this time, that’s really up to NASCAR,’’ Haas said in an interview with NBC Sports. “Some of our concerns are, obviously, if he does come back, can we get in the Chase? But those issues really now kind of reside with NASCAR.’’

Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion, has missed the first three races of the 2015 season. Since he hasn’t made an attempt to qualify for every race, Busch would need a waiver to be eligible to compete in NASCAR’s postseason.

It’s a special circumstance the sport has granted before. Officials gave Tony Stewart a waiver after he was involved in a fatal accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in 2014. Stewart missed three races after the incident and failed to win a race to make the Chase upon returning.

Brian Vickers also received a waiver from NASCAR going into this season. Vickers missed the first two races of the year as he recovered from a surgery to fix a hole in his heart. Vickers returned last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he finished 15th.

Kurt Busch last raced in the Budweiser Duels on February 19. He was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on February 20, following a Kent County (Del.) Court Commissioner ruling that it was “more likely than not” that Busch committed an act of domestic violence against ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September.

However, the Delaware Department of Justice decided not to press criminal charges last week, saying “the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident.” Busch’s attorneys have also appealed the protective order and looked to reopen the case.

NASCAR confirmed that Kurt Busch has signed their terms and conditions for consideration for reinstatement before the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway but kept quiet on a timeline to complete the process. Regan Smith, who has subbed in the No. 41 has kept the car 13th in owner points in Busch’s absence.

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russ

his concern is about the money, plain and simple. After all this is a business.

JohnQ

Here we go, three races deep and already the mindless Chase chatter begins. Sigh.

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