Fresh off of their first victory of the season at Circuit of the Americas, Chase Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team suddenly have a major problem on their hands involving a major member of their team: Eddie D'Hondt, the spotter for Chase Elliott, was arrested earlier this month and accused of assaulting a pregnant woman.
According to a report by Daniel McFadin of Frontstretch.com, D'Hondt was arrested on May 12 by police in Hickory, North Carolina, and is accused of two misdemeanor charges of assaulting a woman and battery of an unborn child. According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, D'Hondt's arrest stems from a September 7, 2020 incident where D'Hondt began arguing with an employee at a jet ski rental company. The employee claimed that D'Hondt made "full body contact and yelled in my face pushing me back multiple times with body", and also hit the employee's arm away and swung a fist at her.
A criminal summons for assault was issued to D'Hondt last September before warrants were issued for his arrest two weeks ago. D'Hondt is tentatively scheduled to appear in court twice on June 7 (battery of an unborn child) and June 30 (assaulting a woman). The assault case in question has been postponed "several times."
Despite his arrest, D'Hondt had served in his regular duties the past two weeks, first at Dover International Speedway and then again at Circuit of the Americas. Wednesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports responded to news of D'Hondt's legal issues by suspending him indefinitely from the team.
"We became aware of the situation this morning and have immediately and indefinitely suspended D'Hondt," read a team statement. "We are taking this matter very seriously and will continue to seek additional information about the alleged incident."
Shortly after Hendrick Motorsports announced their actions against D'Hondt, NASCAR announced that they have suspended D'Hondt indefinitely for multiple violations of the NASCAR rulebook, which states that a NASCAR member can face fines or an indefinite suspension for "being charged with or convicted of a significant criminal violation," and requires any member charged with a violation of the law to notify NASCAR either prior to the next scheduled event or within 72 hours of being charged.
Later Wednesday afternoon, a statement by D'Hondt's attorney shared by Pockrass claimed that D'Hondt is innocent, saying that the alleged victim "swore these charges out before a magistrate with no corroboration from anyone else.
"These unfounded charges have negatively affected Mr. D'Hondt's career and damaged his reputation and he is currently exploring all legal remedies, both criminal and civil," read the statement.
D'Hondt, 62, has served as Chase Elliott's spotter throughout his career after previously having worked in the same role with drivers Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. D'Hondt also served as the general manager of Evernham Motorsports in the 2000s, where he worked with Chase Elliott's father Bill Elliott.