Kurt Busch’s divorce from Eva Bryan barely made the news and surprised many. His break-up from Patricia Driscoll became almost a scandal, however.
Divorce finalized in 2011
NASCAR driver Kurt Busch met his ex-wife on a blind date in 2003. She thought he was a veterinarian, but since they apparently went to a sports bar, the fluke was called out when his face showed up on one of the screens. We don’t know how Eva felt about the deception at the time, but she did continue to date him and the couple finally married in 2006.
The marriage remained childless and appears to have broken apart sometime during 2010. By July 2011 Kurt was first seen with Patricia Driscoll, which raised a few eyebrows. His fans and many other observers took to social media wondering what was going on.
Eva Bryan’s absence from the race track had previously been noticed; as had the fact that Kurt had apparently stopped wearing his wedding ring.
But the NASCAR journalists avoided the topic altogether. Even though at times the NASCAR press reads like any other tabloid, there seems to be an unspoken agreement not to talk about the driver’s private lives, especially as long as it didn’t affect their performance on track. Most other sports in the US are treated differently.
It seems, however, fans were drawing the line somewhere. Not wearing a wedding ring is one thing, but showing up with a completely different woman, who is not your wife, and kissing her after the race in a decidedly non-platonic way required Kurt to make a statement.
So we found out that he had indeed separated from his wife and that they were in the process of getting a divorce. After that the divorce or Eva were never mentioned again, though we do know that the divorce was finalized in 2011.
Patricia became his constant companion and was henceforth the woman by his side. She brought 8-year old son Houston into the relationship and Kurt got along with the boy quite well.
But in fall 2014 Kurt ended the relationship as well. He said that Patricia had become too controlling of his schedule and he needed to concentrate on racing once more.
In September then there was an incident that nearly cost Kurt his career. The divorce from his wife may have been reasonably amicable. It was quiet enough to assume that there was no contention. There was likely a prenup involved and the two went separate ways. Whilst Kurt is known for his temper and is called “The Outlaw” for a reason, he has never been accused of being violent or abusive, especially towards women.
So in November 2014 Patricia accused him of being just that. Apparently she had visited him in his motor home in September, because he had sent her worrying text messages. But he didn’t actually want her there and asked her to leave. All he ever admitted to was cupping her face, which caused her head to tap against the wall.
He probably didn’t touch her gently, but she appeared to have walked away without bruising. He asked her to leave and she did.
A witness later said that she came to him in tears, telling him precisely the same thing that Kurt has said of the encounter. The witness added that he couldn’t see any bruising or bleeding on her either.
At the time Patricia didn’t file any charges, but as of November she was out to destroy Kurt and another witness confirmed that she had said precisely that. She alleged that Kurt had slammed her head into the wall three times and that she had severe bruising on her throat and a wound on her head.
Those claims were never corroborated.
Many considered her a jilted ex-lover. The various testimonies that have been given during a trial in January/February 2015 seemed to suggest the same.
Ultimately Patricia wanted a restraining order against him and she received it after much deliberation. Apparently the trial was unusually lengthy. The presiding judge didn’t trust Kurt, because he kept sticking to his account, which sounded rehearsed.
As a consequence NASCAR banned Kurt indefinitely from the race track. But in March the Attorney General said that no criminal charges would be pursued against Kurt, because it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt that he was indeed guilty of assault.
NASCAR reinstated him and Kurt has been back on the race track ever since.
Perhaps next time he’ll wait before getting another girlfriend after not even being divorced yet.