NASCAR suspends 2 crew members charged with sex crimes against minors in NC

·2 min read
John Raoux/AP

NASCAR has indefinitely suspended two national series crew members following their arrests in North Carolina on charges related to sexual crimes. The cases each is charged in do not appear to be related.

John Byrd, a former hauler driver for Front Row Motorsports, was arrested Nov. 22 in Caldwell County and charged with “Child Abuse By Allowing Sexual Assault On (a) Minor,” a felony, according to a sheriff’s office arrest report.

An arrest warrant accuses Byrd, 53, of Lenoir, N.C., of sexually touching a 13-year-old girl on Nov. 21, public records obtained by The Charlotte Observer on Monday show.

The Observer is not including some detail from police records in this case in order to protect the child’s identity.

Byrd was most recently listed in NASCAR’s roster system as the hauler driver for FRM’s No. 34 Ford team, which won last season’s Daytona 500. FRM told The Observer on Monday that Byrd is no longer employed by the organization.

In addition to Byrd, NASCAR announced Friday that Xfinity Series car chief Austin Zivich was indefinitely suspended for violating NASCAR’s member code of conduct.

Zivich, 26, was arrested in Mooresville on Nov. 29 and charged with three counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor, Iredell County Sheriff’s Office records show. Zivich lives in Mooresville and was employed by B.J. McLeod Motorsports at the time of his arrest, according to police records. He is no longer employed by the team. Additional details of what led to Zivich’s arrest were not released.

In the same staff penalty report released Friday, NASCAR indicated that Cup Series crew chief Johnny Roten was indefinitely suspended under NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. Roten is the crew chief for the No. 13 MBM Toyota team. It’s unclear what led to Roten’s suspension but public records showed no recent arrests in North Carolina.

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