January 12, 2015

DOVER, Del. (AP) NASCAR driver Kurt Busch again denied that he assaulted his ex-girlfriend as he resumed testifying Monday in a hearing regarding her request for a no-contact order.

As he did last month, Busch testified that he did not assault Patricia Driscoll inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in September.

Driscoll, 37, has claimed that Busch grabbed her by the throat and face and slammed her head into a wall three times. Busch, 36, said he told Driscoll repeatedly to leave after she showed up uninvited shortly after their breakup and demanded that he tell her son that the couple's relationship was over.

Re-enacting his version of the encounter with his attorney, Rusty Hardin, Busch showed how he placed his hands on Driscoll.

''I cupped her cheeks, I looked her in the eye, and I said `You have to leave,''' Busch testified.

The man known in NASCAR circles as ''The Outlaw'' also suggested that if there was ever a physical altercation between the two, Driscoll would likely win.

''I know that she could take me down at any moment, because she's a bad-ass,'' said Busch, who said that when the couple first met, Driscoll told him she was a trained assassin.

Busch said Driscoll, who runs a small defense contracting firm, told him in 2010 that she was a ''mercenary'' who killed people for a living.

''I thought that was exciting,'' said Busch, adding that Driscoll showed him pictures of bodies with gunshot wounds after he said he didn't believe her.

A behind-the-scenes tour of Fort Bragg, and Driscoll's claim that a long belly scar was from a stab wound suffered during a mission, seemed to bolster Busch's belief that she was a hired killer, according to his testimony.

''I had other people tell me she was crazy. ... I didn't believe it simply because of what I had seen and heard,'' he said.

Driscoll says Busch assaulted her after she drove from her Maryland home to Dover to check on him after he sent her several disturbing texts following a poor qualifying session at Dover. In one text, Busch told Driscoll that he was crying, lying on the floor and didn't know ''which way was up.''

Busch testified he had been crying while watching a movie in which the protagonist leaves his wife and son, and which caused him to reflect on his own breakup with Driscoll, whose son had formed a strong bond with Busch.

''It just hit me emotionally,'' said Busch, who denied Driscoll's allegations that he said he wished he had a gun so he could kill himself.

Busch said he decided to break up with Driscoll after the September race in New Hampshire because she was monopolizing his schedule and he needed to focus on his racing team and career.

Busch's attorneys have portrayed Driscoll as a scorned woman out to destroy his career.

''When she doesn't get her way, you don't want to stand in front of that bulldozer,'' Busch said of Driscoll.

While Driscoll has said she wants a no-contact order because she is afraid of Busch, Busch on Monday read a text exchange from October in which Driscoll describes her disappointment that he had not tried to reach out to her after the Dover incident.

The first witness to testify Monday was Nick Terry, a chaplain with Motor Racing Outreach, which ministers to NASCAR drivers.

Terry said Driscoll showed up crying at his motorhome on the night of the alleged assault and told him Busch had grabbed her by the neck and pushed her against the wall. But he said Driscoll never told him that Busch slammed her head into the wall, and that he and his wife did not notice any marks on Driscoll.

Terry also denied Driscoll's allegations that he had been threatened and offered bribes by Busch's attorneys.

Kristy Cloutier, an executive assistant to Busch, described the relationship between Busch and Driscoll as one of puppet and puppeteer.

''Patricia was the puppeteer in telling him what to do and when to do it,'' she testified.

Cloutier acknowledged that Busch has a temper and sometimes speaks and acts before thinking, but that she doesn't believe he is capable of physical abuse.

Busch was to continue testifying on Tuesday.

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