Busch driving for Penske Racing.
|Born||August 4, 1978|
|Hometown||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Sprint Cup statistics|
|Car no. - Team|| #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
#54 Monster Energy Toyota (NNS)
|2011 pts finish||11th|
|Best pts finish||1st (2004)|
|First race||2004 MBNA America 400|
|First win||2002 Food City 500|
|Last race||2011 Ford 400|
Kurt Thomas Busch (born August 4, 1978) is an American Stock car driver. He currently drives the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series for Furniture Row Racing. He is a third-generation race car driver, his father Tom won several NASCAR sanctioned events, and he is the older brother of Kyle Busch, also a NASCAR driver.
Busch won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2004, the first ever season using the "Chase for the Cup" points format, finishing just eight points ahead of Jimmie Johnson. With a 2006 win in the Nationwide Series, Busch became one of only 18 drivers with a win in all three of NASCAR's top divisions: Sprint Cup Series; Nationwide Series; and Camping World Truck Series.
Early life Edit
At the age of six, Busch was accompanying his father to the track and driving go-carts himself. As an underage teenager, he competed in Dwarf competition winning in just his second race, at the Las Vegas Speedway Park. This father and son team competed western tracks from Southern California to Utah. In 1994, his first full year as a driver, Busch won 10 consecutive races at 10 different tracks. His father eventually sold their dwarf equipment and purchased a powerful car for the Legends Series, which Busch began driving in 1996 at age 18.
Early career Edit
He gained his first national exposure while competing against Ron Hornaday, Jr., Matt Crafton, Greg Biffle, Chris Trickle, and Kevin Harvick and others in the 1998 Winter Heat Series at Tucson Raceway Park.
Busch earned his big break after Chris Trickle was wounded in a mysterious shooting (Trickle would die of the injuries over a year later and to this day the murderer has never been found). The Star Nursery team looked for a new driver to replace Trickle for the No. 70 team. Busch inherited the ride for the team and won the 1998 Auto Zone Elite Division Southwest Series Rookie of the Year. He followed up by winning the series championship in 1999.
That led to a tryout in a Roush Racing "Gong Show", which he won and earned a Craftsman Truck Series ride. He raced the #99 Exide Batteries Ford F-150. He won four races and finished runner-up to teammate Greg Biffle in the championship standings, as well as winning Rookie of the Year honors. He caused controversy when Jack Roush invited him to race in the Winston Cup Series, without any experience from the Busch Grand National Series, while overlooking Biffle, who had competed longer in NASCAR than Busch.Template:Citation needed
Busch began racing on the Winston Cup circuit in 2000, at the age of 22. He replaced Chad Little in the No. 97 John Deere Ford. His first race in the Winston Cup Series was in Dover in September 2000, 1 month after his 21st birthday. He drove in 7 races, with no wins, top 5's, or top 10's, and finished 48th in the standings that year, with Jeff Hammond as crew chief.
Busch ran for rookie of the year honors in 2001, starting 35 of 36 races with no wins, although he scored three top fives and six top tens that year. He made contact with Dale Earnhardt's car in the Daytona 500 and Earnhardt stuck his hand out the window at Busch to give him the finger. To this day Busch recalls this as the only time he encountered Earnhardt on the track. He began the season unsponsored before Sharpie/Rubbermaid signed with the team after several races. Busch finished with a 27th place finish in the championship standings, was the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award, earned more than $2 million in winnings. He won the pole at the Southern 500, finished third at the Talladega 500 and fifth at the Brickyard 400.
2002 was Busch's breakout year in the Winston Cup Series. He won his first race at the Food City 500 in Bristol in the spring. Busch added a second win at Martinsville in October, then won at Atlanta the next week and Homestead in the season finale. Busch scored four wins, 12 top fives and 20 top tens, with one pole, and finishing third in the final standings in 2002. He finished the season particularly strong, winning three out of the final five races and finishing third and sixth and leading many laps in the other two. He also collected $5,105,394.
Busch had an up and down year in 2003, earning four wins (including a season sweep at Bristol, making him the first driver to do that since Dale Earnhardt accomplished the feat in 1987), nine top fives and 14 top tens but finishing only 11th in the standings following a late season slump, although he collected US$5 million+ dollars again that year. It was a season marred by an ongoing feud with fellow driver Jimmy Spencer. After some car-to-car bumping at a race at the Michigan International Speedway, Busch brake tested Spencer causing the latter to collide with him. Spencer reached into Busch's car, grabbed Busch, and punched him in the nose. Busch first claimed that his car stalled out in front of Spencer's garage, though audio later revealed that he stopped the car, revved the engine, and threatened Spencer from his car. Spencer was forced to sit out the next week's race, and both drivers were fined and placed on probation for the rest of the year. The altercation harmed Busch's relationship with fans significantly. He has since attempted to repair this image through charitable donations and many public appearances where he interacts with fans.Template:Citation needed Busch was also the runner-up finisher in the closest finish in NASCAR history at Darlington Raceway on March 16, 2003. After a two-lap side-by-side battle with Ricky Craven around the track, Craven crossed the finish line only 0.002 seconds ahead of Busch in the photo-finish.
In 2004, Busch won three races, two poles and the inaugural NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship. He won his fourth consecutive race at Bristol after winning the Food City 500 in March (winning that race for the third consecutive year), and became the first driver to sweep both races at Loudon in a single season. He scored ten top five and 21 top ten finishes that season. Irwin Industrial Tools and Crown Royal replaced Rubbermaid as his sponsor. Midway through the 2005 season, Busch announced that he would be leaving Roush Racing at the end of the season and would replace Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing South. Busch won three races during the 2005 season, along with nine top five and 18 top ten finishes in 34 races. He finished 10th in the final standings after being released from his contract before the final two races, when he had been falsely issued a DUI before the Phoenix race.
Busch left Roush Racing and joined Penske Championship Racing (at the time, Penske Racing South) in 2006. Busch had asked team owner Jack Roush to let him out of his contract at the end of the 2005, but Roush initially refused. However, after Chip Ganassi released Jamie McMurray from his 2006 contract, Roush decided to release Busch. McMurray, who was originally slated to join Roush in 2007 to drive the #6, instead replaced Busch in the #97,, which was then renumbered to #26. In the 2006 season, driving for Penske, Busch scored one win at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500, his fifth win at the track. Busch celebrated the victory by getting out of his car and making a "snow angel" on the track (in response to the snow that had fallen at the track that weekend), to the displeasure of the fans. He also won six poles and had seven top fives and twelve top ten finishes but finished 16th in the final standings. He also made his Busch Series debut for Penske in the #39 Penske Truck Rental Dodge at Texas Motor Speedway, winning in his first race. He ran six more races that season and picked up a second win at Watkins Glen International. In the 2007 season, Busch had two wins, one pole, scored five top-fives, and ten-top tens through 26 races and qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Busch's on-track performance increased noticeably after the addition of Pat Tryson as his crew chief mid-way through the season. He also ran four more Busch races, but did not win.
In 2008, in order to make sure rookie teammate Sam Hornish Jr. would be guaranteed a starting spot in the season's first five races the points from Busch's No. 2 car were transferred over to the No. 77 car driven by Hornish. Busch would still be guaranteed to start, however, due to NASCAR's Champion's Provisional Rule, which states that the most recent series champion not in the top 35 in the previous season's final owner points automatically qualifies for a race (with his 2004 championship, Busch was by several years the most recent). On June 29, Busch broke a 29-race winless streak at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 was called due to rain on lap 284. It was his fourth win since joining Penske Racing and 18th overall.
His began his 2009 season at the 2009 Daytona 500, he was involved in a wreck on lap 124 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. swerved into Brian Vickers. Vickers shot up and hit the wall, ricocheting into Denny Hamlin, who came down into Busch. He then spun into the grass (along with 8 other drivers). Busch made numerous pit stops to repair the car, and was able to finish tenth. Busch then qualified fourth for the season's second race at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. He ran in the top five most of the race and finished fifth. This moved him up seven spots in the standings to third. Busch led most of the race the 2009 Kobalt Tools 500, leading 235 of 325 laps and getting his nineteenth Sprint Cup Series victory. He led more laps in the race then he did in the entire 2008 season.
For the 2010 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Penske Racing will bring Brad Keselowski on board to drive the #12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger. Busch and Sam Hornish will be his teammates. Keselowski will also run a full-time Nationwide Series, driving the #22 Discount Tires Dodge Challenger. 2009 Rookie Justin Allgaier will accompany him in the Nationwide Series.
Busch picked up another win at the 2009 Dickies 500 after his brother Kyle ran out of fuel with two laps to go.
Busch will drive the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2010 for Penske Racing. Busch hired Steve Addington, his brother Kyle's former crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, as his new crew chief in 2010, replacing Pat Tryson, who moved to Michael Waltrip Racing to be the crew chief for Martin Truex Jr.
Sprint Cup (24 Career Wins)Edit
- AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway - October 2, 2011
- Toyota/Savemart 350 at Infineon Raceway - June 26, 2011
- Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway - May 30, 2010
- Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway - March 7, 2010
- Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway - March 8, 2009
- Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway - November 8, 2009
- Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway - August 5, 2007
- 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway - August 21, 2007
- Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway - April 23, 2005
- Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway - July 24, 2005
- Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway - September 10, 2005
- Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway - March 28, 2004
- Siemens 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway - July 25, 2004
- Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway - September 19, 2004
- Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway - March 23, 2003
- Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway - April 27, 2003
- Sirius 400 at Michigan International Speedway - June 15, 2003
- Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway - August 23, 2003
- Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway - March 24, 2002
- Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway - October 20, 2002
- NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway - October 27, 2002
- Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway - November 17, 2002
Nationwide Series (3 Career Wins)Edit
- O'Reilly 300 at Texas Motor Speedway - April 8, 2006
- Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International - August 12, 2006
Camping World Truck Series (4 Career Wins)Edit
- Sears Diehard 200 at Milwaukee Mile - July 1, 2000
- thatlook.com 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway - July 8, 2000
- MBNA e-commerce.com 200 at Dover International Speedway - September 22, 2000
- Motorola 200 at Auto Club Speedway - October 28, 2000
2005 Phoenix incidentEdit
Busch's 2005 season was cut short by two races after a confrontation during the Phoenix, Arizona race weekend with Maricopa County Sheriff deputies on November 11, 2005, when he was pulled over for suspicion of drunken driving and cited for reckless driving. At first, the Sheriff's department claimed that their equipment for sobriety testing had failed and they could not release results of his drunk driving tests. This claim later proved to be false, but by this time, Roush Racing responded two days later by suspending Busch for the remainder of the season and replacing him with Kenny Wallace for the final two races. Team president Geoff Smith famously declared they were "officially retiring as Kurt Busch's apologists." Busch was 8th in the Cup Series Chase for the Championship at the time of the incident. He was sentenced to serve 50 hours of community service which was to be completed within one year. In November 2006, one year after the incident, Busch was declared an honorary deputy in Maricopa County.
Feuds with rival driversEdit
Aside from Jimmy Spencer, Busch has had notable run-ins with Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick,Robby Gordon, and Tony Stewart. On June 4, 2007 in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway, after a crash with Stewart he drove beside Stewart's car on pit road, and gestured through his window netting. Busch was penalized 100 championship points, fined $100,000, and placed on probation until the end of the year.
But Busch would tangle with Stewart again only months later. During practice for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, Stewart clipped the back end of Busch's car sending Busch into the wall. After sustaining major damage Busch drove towards Stewart's car and rammed Stewart's car three times before attempting to return to the garage after the practice was called. Stewart had stopped his car in an effort to block Busch from going back into the garage area but Busch went around Stewart. After NASCAR ordered both drivers to the NASCAR hauler, rumor has it that Stewart and Busch got into a shouting match in which Stewart allegedly punched Busch. Busch has acknowledged his mistakes and has tried to avoid feuds.
|2013||78||Furniture Row||Chevrolet||Furniture Row Racing|
|2010||2||Miller Lite||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|2009||2||Miller Lite||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|2008||2||Miller Lite||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|2007||2||Miller Lite||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|2006||2||Miller Lite||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|2005||97||Sharpie/Irwin Tools||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2004||97||Sharpie/Irwin Tools||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2004||97||Sharpie/Irwin Tools||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2003||97||Rubbermaid||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2002||97||Rubbermaid||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2001||97||Rubbermaid/Sharpie||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
|2000||97||John Deere||Ford||Roush Fenway Racing|
Personal life Edit
Busch became engaged to girlfriend, Eva Bryan, while attending the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix. On July 27, 2006, during an off weekend following the Sprint Cup Pocono race, they were married in Virginia. The footage was taped and later aired on national television. The couple currently resides in North Carolina, and travels to racetracks each week together. His younger brother Kyle Busch also competes full-time in both the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and runs part time in the Camping World Truck Series. The Kurt Busch family has a dog, a Yorkshire Terrier named Ginger. They recently had another dog, a Cairn Terrier named Jim, who passed away in the summer of 2007. The Busch's and their dog are featured in the NASCAR Pets calendar. Busch is also an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Busch/Busch_bio.html
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2000 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. 2000. UMI Publications. Page 321 - profile of 2000 season Craftsman Truck Series drivers.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 2000 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. 2000. UMI Publications. Page 437 - profile of 1999 Featherlite Southwest Series champion (Kurt Busch).
- ↑ Chevrolet 1998 Season Review, December 8, 1998; motor sport.com; Retrieved February 15, 2008
- ↑ Chevy Adds to Win Tally in '99, December 22, 1999; motor sport.com; Retrieved February 15, 2008
- ↑ Tryson takes over #2 Kurt Busch Crew Chief Duties
- ↑ http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/headlines/cup/09/01/bkeselowski.penske/index.html
- ↑ http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/business/09/16/discount.tire.penske.bkeselowski/index.html
- ↑ Associated Press. Kurt Busch cited for reckless driving. NASCAR.com. URL accessed on July 12, 2006.
- ↑ Associated Press. 'Last straw': Kurt Busch suspended for rest of season. ESPN.com. URL accessed on July 12, 2006.
- ↑ Gargill, David & Penn, Nate (2006). The Ten Most Hated Athletes. men.style.com. URL accessed on July 12, 2006.
- Kurt Busch's Official Website
- Kurt Busch Interview - The Global Townhall
- Career statistics at racing-reference.info
- 10 Questions with Kurt Busch - July 2005 interview of the defending Nextel Cup champ
|NASCARGNCareer=Y |WestCareer=Y |NASCAREliteCareer=Y |SESCareer=N |SWSCareer=Y }}