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Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch
Busch driving for Penske Racing.
Born August 4, 1978 (1978-08-04) (age 38)
Hometown U.S Flag Las Vegas, Nevada
Achievements
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics
Car no. - Team #41 Stewart-Haas Racing
Best pts finish 1st (2004)
First race 2004 MBNA America 400
First win 2002 Food City 500

Kurt Thomas Busch (born August 4, 1978) is an American Stock car racing driver. He currently drives the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. 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 and champion.[1]

Busch won the NASCAR 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 Busch Series, Busch became one of only 18 drivers with a win in all three of NASCAR's top divisions: Monster Energy Cup Series; Xfinity 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.[1]

After graduating at Durango High School, Busch enrolled at the University of Arizona, hoping to earn a degree in Pharmacy.[1]

NASCAR Edit

Early career Edit

Busch's first racing experience was in a Dwarf car at age 14 at Pahrump Valley Speedway.[2] He was put in the Dwarf car by his father.[3]

Busch first competed in the NASCAR Auto Zone Elite Division, Southwest Series (then known as the Featherlite Southwest Series), being rookie of the year in 1998 and winning the 1999 championship.[3]

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.[4] He followed up by winning the series championship in 1999.[5]

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.[2] 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.

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.

2002-2005Edit

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.

2005-2009 Edit

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,[1], 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Busch picked up another win at the 2009 Dickies 500 after his brother Kyle ran out of fuel with two laps to go.

2010 Edit

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.

Kurt Busch in 2010, won a few races in Atlanta, and Charlotte. In Atlanta, Busch held off Juan Montoya to win the race. At Charlotte in May, Kurt Busch won a million dollars in the All-Star Race after brother Kyle crashed with a few laps left. Kurt Busch then won the Coca-Cola 600 against friend Jamie McMurray becoming the 7th driver to win the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 in the same year.

Kurt Busch then had a slow summer. His season was not without controversy.

At Bristol in spring, Busch led the final laps, but bitter nemesis Jimmie Johnson passed him with a few laps left, using the old bump-and-run move to win the race. Busch said after the event "I'd rather lose to any other 41 cars out there than that 48 car." Johnson and Busch then tangled at Pocono, with Johnson trying to bumpdraft him but instead spinning out Busch who crashed hard into the grasses. Busch's crash was overshadowed by Elliott Sadler's horrific hit into the same barrier just behind Kurt.

Kurt Busch also got into a feud with Jeff Gordon at Martinsville during the Chase part of the year in which Kurt Busch intentionally wrecked Gordon in the middle of the event. A few laps later, Gordon, a few laps down after repairs, tried payback but failed because Kurt expected it and held his line.

After 2010, Penske moved Busch to the #22 Shell/Pennzoil team to help teammate Brad Keselowski who was struggling. Keselowski was moved to the #2 team.

2011 Edit

Kurt Busch started his new season on a high note. At Daytona in the Budweiser Shootout, Kurt Busch led a few laps, working with Jamie McMurray for the entire event. With 4 laps left, Kurt Busch was in third behind Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin. On the final lap in turn 4, Busch and McMurray moved to the high line. Hamlin moved low and all three went around then leader Ryan Newman. Hamlin beat Busch to the line by slipping under the yellow out of bounds line, giving the win to Kurt Busch.

Kurt Busch then won at Sonoma for his first win in 2011, leading 76 of 110 laps. Kurt Busch then won at Dover.

His season was again not without controversy. At Richmond he verbally abused Penske vice-president Tom German who was subbing for Roger Penske. At Pocono in late August 2011, Busch beat rival Jimmie Johnson for a third place spot but Johnson accused Kurt of rough driving after the race vowing that if Kurt crashed him again he would take it personal. At Richmond, Kurt accidentally crashed Johnson who soon afterwards was parked by NASCAR for actions detrimental to the sport (Johnson retaliated). At Homestead, Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 for giving a profane gesture after wrecking, and for verbally abusing reporter Jerry Punch. Busch was mutually fired by Penske after 2011.

A disgraced Kurt Busch showed up to the NASCAR Championship buffet, announcing that he would find help from sports doctors and restart his life.

2012-2013 Edit

In early 2012, Kurt Busch announced that with help from a good friend off the track, Felix Sabates, he joined James Finch's Phoenix Racing team to drive the #51 chevy, as his starting point of improving his reputation.

Kurt also announced that in 2012, he would join younger brother's NNS team Busch Motorsports, to race the #54 Monster Energy Drink Toyota. Kurt won the NNS operation their first victory holding off Denny Hamlin by half a car length to win at Richmond.

Since Busch won a pole spot in 2011 as well as two wins, he automatically qualified the #51 Hendrick Motorsports sponsored chevy, to the Budweiser Shootout race. Kurt Busch was moving towards the front in the final laps but was collected in a multi-car pileup that found Busch's car being crushed; and Jeff Gordon flipping over three times. Kurt's younger brother Kyle won the race.

Kurt Busch had a slow start to the 2012 season but was giving Finch good finishes for the unsponsored team. At Darlington, Kurt Busch blew out a tire and crashed with 6 laps left collecting Ryan Newman. This accident caused Newman's pit crew to target Busch for a post-race feud. NASCAR fined Kurt $50,000 and put him on probation for 6 weeks when they discovered that Kurt Busch had violently drove through Newman's pit stall barely avoiding the 39 crew members; with a few laps left in the event before the final restart.

On June 4th, after the weekend at Dover, NASCAR parked Kurt Busch from the Pocono weekend for a post-race incident with Justin Allgiar and for shouting inappropriate language at reporter Bob Pockrass. Busch was also put on probation until December 31st 2012.

Kurt Busch redeemed himself from his penalty by leading some laps and finishing an upset third place at Sonoma; the team's best finish that year.

In Autumn 2012, Kurt Busch announced to have been hired by Furniture Row Racing to replace Regan Smith in the #78 Denver Mattress team after Talladega through 2013.

At Talladega in the waning races, Kurt had his greatest race of the year leading some laps contending to win. However half-way into the event on lap 100, Busch ran out of gas and crashed. Busch realized his car was still drivable and as paramedics came, Busch went back in his car and drove to the garage. NASCAR parked Busch for the rest of the event for ignoring an order to stop for the medical assistance. NASCAR later forgave Busch and the #51 team that week, when they learned that Busch could not hear the order due to him not wearing his helmet.

Kurt Busch quickly had stunning performances after replacing Regan Smith.

In 2013, Kurt Busch performed so well. He nearly won at Fontana in spring after recovering from speeding penalties. At Texas Kurt Busch had an unbeatable pole spot speed but lost the pole to the final one to qualify; younger brother Kyle. Kurt said after losing the pole "I'd rather lose to Kyle than anybody else. I am bitter that I did lose it to him because if they give him a shotgun like they always have, he does not know how to use the darn thing."

Kurt Busch nearly won the All-Star Race, nearly won the Coca-Cola 600 and Richmond. Kurt Busch led some laps at Richmond but after the race was confronted by angered Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth for previous contact in the race.

At Sonoma, Kurt Busch was about to take the lead from Marcos Ambrose early in the event, but was penalized twice for speeding on pit road; Busch amazed everybody by recovering to finish in the top five.

Kurt Busch almost won at Loudon but wrecked with Ryan Newman in a controversial matter. This led to an insult trading between Newman and both Busch brothers after the event ended.

In August 2013, Kurt Busch, during a NASCAR meeting met legendary businessman & Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner, Gene Haas who was subbing for an injured Tony Stewart at the meeting. Haas offered Kurt Busch a multi-year deal to drive for SHR in a fourth team for 2014, under Haas' automation company sponsorship. Busch accepted the offer.

At Richmond, Kurt Busch finished in second place and made the #78 team an upset contender for the Sprint Cup title. Busch was visibly emotional. However since winner Carl Edwards went unpenalized for a restart issue that found him jumping the restart ahead of leader Paul Menard, fans and his supporters (excluding Kurt) have claimed that Kurt not only got into the Chase but actually won the Richmond event.

When NASCAR officially listed Edwards as the winner, fans ridiculed them for the decision believing that Kurt was robbed of the win. These ridicules led NASCAR to make a new official rule at the end of the week, stating that any car can have a head-start on a restart from then on. NASCAR also gave Kurt and Furniture Row Racing, bonus points and bigger paychecks to put the whole thing behind them. Kurt Busch however stated that week that although he accepted the points and bonus payments offer he was satisfied with his second place spot regardless if Edwards went penalized or not.

After the Chicagoland event, Tony Stewart and Gene Haas announced that Kurt Busch's 2014 number would be 41; Stewart's number 14 spelled backwards. At Kansas, Kurt Busch finished in the top five behind future teammate and race winner Kevin Harvick. However Busch was confronted by Jeff Gordon after the race and an argument occurred. Although Busch and Gordon claim that their argument was a civil talk, however the video shows otherwise since their faces when arguing looked defensive.

Kurt finished 10th in the 2013 standings.

2014: Stewart-Haas Racing Edit

Kurt Busch started his season out well. He nearly won the Sprint Unlimited, leading quite a bit of the race, only to fall victim to a vicious crash. In the Budweiser Duels, Kurt Busch sealed up his qualification of the 2013 Daytona 500 by a 3rd place finish. Kurt Busch was about to pass Denny Hamlin for the win of the 2nd Budweiser Duel. When the big one occurred on the final lap, Kurt slowed for a caution, but NASCAR allowed it to go green and as a result, Kurt finished 3rd.

Kurt Busch got his outbreaking race at Fontana. After Jimmie Johnson cut a tire with 6 laps to go, a caution came out. Kurt Busch beat teammate Tony Stewart, and brother Kyle off pit road. On the final restart, a struggle with Stewart for the race lead allowed Kyle Busch to catch up and pass them for the win.

The next week, Kurt Busch ended his 83-race winless streak by edging Jimmie Johnson for the STP 500 victory. Throughout the race, Kurt traded insults and bumps with former teammate Brad Keselowski who believed that Kurt had intentionally collided with him on pit road (this was not true).

Races WonEdit

Monster Energy Cup Series (29 Career Wins)Edit

2017

2016

2015

2014

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

Xfinity Series (5 Career Wins)Edit

2012

2011

2006

Camping World Truck Series (4 Career Wins)Edit

2000

2005 Phoenix incidentEdit

Initial ReportsEdit

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.[9] 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."[10] 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 drivers Edit

In the February 2006 edition of GQ Magazine, he was selected number three on their list of the top ten most hated athletes, behind Barry Bonds and Terrell Owens.[11]

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.

Teams Edit

Cup teams
41 Haas-CNC/Monster Energy Chevrolet Stewart-Haas Racing
78 Furniture Row Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing
51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Phoenix Racing
22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Penske Racing
2 Miller Lite Dodge Penske Racing
2 Miller Lite Dodge Penske Racing
2 Miller Lite Dodge Penske Racing
2 Miller Lite Dodge Penske Racing
2 Miller Lite Dodge Penske Racing
97 Sharpie/Irwin Tools Ford Roush Fenway Racing
97 Sharpie/Irwin Tools Ford Roush Fenway Racing
97 Sharpie/Irwin Tools Ford Roush Fenway Racing
97 Rubbermaid Ford Roush Fenway Racing
97 Rubbermaid Ford Roush Fenway Racing
97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Ford Roush Fenway Racing
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 the Sprint Cup Series, runs both part-time in the Xfinity Series and 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.

Busch made a cameo appearance on America's Most Wanted with John Walsh. Busch was interviewed by Walsh in the episode.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.jockbio.com/Bios/Busch/Busch_bio.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 2000 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. 2000. UMI Publications. Page 321 - profile of 2000 season Craftsman Truck Series drivers.
  3. 3.0 3.1 2000 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. 2000. UMI Publications. Page 437 - profile of 1999 Featherlite Southwest Series champion (Kurt Busch).
  4. Chevrolet 1998 Season Review, December 8, 1998; motor sport.com; Retrieved February 15, 2008
  5. Chevy Adds to Win Tally in '99, December 22, 1999; motor sport.com; Retrieved February 15, 2008
  6. Tryson takes over #2 Kurt Busch Crew Chief Duties
  7. http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/headlines/cup/09/01/bkeselowski.penske/index.html
  8. http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/business/09/16/discount.tire.penske.bkeselowski/index.html
  9. Associated Press. Kurt Busch cited for reckless driving. NASCAR.com. URL accessed on July 12, 2006.
  10. Associated Press. 'Last straw': Kurt Busch suspended for rest of season. ESPN.com. URL accessed on July 12, 2006.
  11. Gargill, David & Penn, Nate (2006). The Ten Most Hated Athletes. men.style.com. URL accessed on July 12, 2006.

External linksEdit

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