By Lewis Franck
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s appeal of a suspension imposed after a Delaware judge’s finding of domestic abuse by him was denied by a three-person panel on Saturday.
The panel ruled following a two-hour hearing on the eve of Sunday's Daytona 500, but Busch's lawyer vowed to take the driver's appeal to the next level.
Busch attorney Rusty Hardin said in an email, "We are re-appealing immediately, per the proscribed process."
By NASCAR rules, the case can be brought to final appeal officer Bryan Moss, who is expected to hear the arguments on Saturday night.
As a result of the suspension, Busch’s Stewart-Haas racing team has substituted Regan Smith to drive in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Busch was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Friday following a Delaware court ruling that found he had likely physically abused his ex-girlfriend.
Kent County Family Court Commissioner David Jones, who on Monday granted a protective order to Busch's former girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, wrote on Friday that Busch "more likely than not ... committed an act of abuse."
Driscoll, 37, said Busch grabbed her by the neck inside his motorhome at Dover International Speedway in Delaware on Sept. 26 and repeatedly hit her head against a wall.
Busch has denied the charges.
(Editing by Larry Fine)