Busch moves on with new girlfriend at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Kurt Busch has a new girlfriend, moving on in his personal life even as legal issues stemming from a dispute with his ex linger.
Busch posed for pictures with Ashley Van Metre at his No. 41 car throughout the weekend at Daytona International Speedway. He was all smiles before the Sprint Unlimited and Sunday’s Daytona 500 qualifying — and even directed some photographers into proper position for a better picture.
Busch’s former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, filed a petition for a protection order in November, claiming Busch assaulted her inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September, grabbing her by the face and neck and slamming her head three times into a bedroom wall. She said she drove to Dover from her Maryland home to check on Busch after he sent several texts that led her to believe he might be depressed.
Busch has denied the assault allegations.
“I feel like it’s full throttle, full steam ahead,” Busch said at Daytona 500 media day.
His troubles have followed him from Delaware to Daytona. The Family Court hearing included sensational testimony in which Busch said he believes Driscoll is a trained assassin and a “badass” who could take him down at any moment if he tried to hurt her. Busch’s motorhome driver also testified that Driscoll told him she was a trained assassin for the U.S. government.
After a wreck knocked Busch out of the Unlimited on Saturday night, Texas Motor Speedway tweeted, “Kurt Busch just got assassinated on the track.” Track president Eddie Gossage later tweeted apologies and said he would call Busch.
“The staffer made a really bad call. I’m embarrassed,” Gossage tweeted.
Team owner Tony Stewart has a contingency plan should Busch be unable to drive this season because of his legal troubles. Stewart did not reveal specifics of his plan if Busch is eventually ordered by a court to stay away from his ex-girlfriend and winds up being punished by NASCAR.