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Stewart-Haas has contingency plan if Kurt Busch can’t drive

Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart said Thursday his organization has a contingency plan if Kurt Busch is unable to continue his role as driver of the team’s No. 41 Chevrolet this season.

On Jan. 6, the Dover (Del.) Police Department announced it had completed its investigation into an allegation of domestic assault made against Busch by ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll and forwarded the results to the Delaware Attorney General’s office.

No decision on whether to file charges has been made. In a separate issue, a ruling is expected any time by a judge on a protective order requested by Driscoll.

“We’re waiting to see (what happens), but we’re very hopeful we won’t have to worry about it,” Stewart said. “I feel bad he’s in that situation right now, but we have to be smart and have to have a plan in place.”

Stewart said “it’s definitely been a surprise” how long the process has taken. If charged, Busch faces the possibility of a stiff NASCAR penalty.

Patrick ‘disappointed’ ad pulled

Danica Patrick said she was “definitely disappointed” GoDaddy, which sponsors her No. 10 Chevrolet at Stewart-Haas Racing, pulled its original Super Bowl ad after an uproar from animal rescue activists.

Patrick also scoffed at the notion GoDaddy put together the first ad with intentions of pulling it all along as some sort of publicity ploy. 

“GoDaddy had every intention to run that commercial, and I feel like I heard from a lot of people that it was like choreographed and it was planned and stuff,” she said. “I think that’s so funny. We thought it was a really funny, absolutely left-sided joke, but it really was not intentional.

“So was I surprised? I don’t think anything in this culture surprises me anymore.”

NASCAR spells out penalties

NASCAR formally codified the penalties teams and their crew members will receive this season if they are caught manipulating fenders or side skirts during the race.

At the NASCAR Media Tour last month, NASCAR officials said teams would be penalized for the practice, including loss of track position.

Under the new update to the rulebook, when an infraction is determined, the team’s crew chief will be instructed to have the car return to the pit stall for repair.

When the repair is completed under caution, the car must restart the race at the back of the field, take the green flag on the track and then serve a green-flag pass-thru penalty.

If the penalty is assessed under green-flag conditions, the car must report to its pit stall for repairs and will be released once completed.

Crew members caught making the unapproved adjustments also will be subject to NASCAR penalties.

Marcus Smith named CEO of SMI

The board of directors for Speedway Motorsports Inc. this week named Bruton Smith as executive chairman and his son, Marcus Smith, as chief executive officer in a realignment of executive officers.

Bruton Smith has served as chairman and CEO since SMI’s initial public offering in 1995. In an expanded role, Marcus Smith, who has served as SMI’s president and chief operating officer since 2008, will maintain those roles.

Tifft picks up Truck ride

Venturini Motorsports, in a technical alliance with Kyle Busch Motorsports, will enter Ohio native and UNC Charlotte student Matt Tifft in the Feb. 20 Truck series season opener at Daytona.

Tifft has three starts in the series, including a career-best, eighth-place finish last season at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

In addition to Daytona, Tifft will run six races this season for KBM in a truck he will share with owner Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez.