While the 2009 season marks Busch’s fifth full year competing in Sprint Cup and his second with JGR, his rise from aspiring young racer to the youngest
winner in Sprint Cup history took just eight years, when on Sept. 4, 2005, Busch took the checkered flag at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
That win was the culmination of a career that unofficially began at age six when Busch cruised around the cul-de-sac of his family’s Las Vegas residence in
a makeshift go-kart. That Busch was too small to reach the throttle didn’t stop him from picking up the basics. His father, Tom, held down the gas pedal
while he veered the kart around the block. Once Busch was tall enough to reach the gas pedal on his own, the pace was already set for his future career in
Throughout his childhood, Busch spent countless hours as an apprentice to his father, Tom, and older brother, Kurt, in the family garage learning to build
and repair race cars. By age 10, Busch was a full-fledged mechanic and served as crew chief on his older brother’s Dwarf car team. In 1998, shortly after his
13th birthday, Busch’s driving career officially began.
Given his young age, schoolwork was always first priority. He was an honor student, but his extra-curricular activities always included a race car. Busch’s
parents taught him accountability, meaning if he wanted to race, he was responsible to work on, repair and pay for his own cars. Busch learned early on
that carelessness on the track proved costly, resulting in wrecked race cars and not being prepared for the next event. He took pride in his equipment and
raced competitors with respect.
From 1999 to 2001, Busch earned more than 65 wins in Legends cars as he racked up two track championships at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
“Bullring” before moving up to Late Model stock cars. Winning seemed to come naturally, no matter what Busch drove, as he captured 10 victories in Late
Model competition at the Bullring in 2001.
His winning reputation and potential for success began to pique the interest of car owners in NASCAR, and on Aug. 3, 2001, at age 16, Busch made his
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut driving for Roush Fenway Racing at O’Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis, where he started 23rd and
finished ninth. Shortly thereafter, an unexpected ruling by NASCAR that enacted a minimum age requirement for competitors in NASCAR’s top-three
series sidelined Busch to pit road until his 18th birthday.
Instead of sitting idle until he turned 18, Busch turned his attention to the American Speed Association and ran the entire 2002 schedule. In a division that
prepared the likes of Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki and Rusty Wallace for NASCAR, Busch proved successful once again by posting five top-fives and 10 top-
10s in 20 starts, ending the season eighth in points. That same year he also graduated with honors, one year early no less, from Durango High School in
Prior to his 18th birthday in 2003, Busch signed with Hendrick Motorsports and quickly got down to business, winning his very first ARCA Series race at
Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway from the pole position, and followed it up with a second win at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in his very next outing.
Upon turning 18, he entered seven NASCAR Nationwide Series races – the stepping-stone division to the elite Sprint Cup Series – and notched a runner-up
finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte, N.C., in his very first start. Busch rounded out the year with two second-place finishes, three top-10
finishes and five top-10 qualifying efforts.
The 2004 season started off on a high note, as Busch nabbed an ARCA victory Feb. 7 in his first career start on the high banks of Daytona (Fla.)
International Speedway. And after his first full season in the Nationwide Series, Busch was the youngest top rookie in series history at age 19.
Busch grabbed his first Nationwide Series victory on May 14, 2004 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The win sparked four more – at Lowe’s Motor
Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, O’Reilly Raceway Park and Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. When it was all said and done, Busch ended the
year with five poles, five wins, 16 top-fives, 22 top-10s and a runner-up finish in the point standings.
To gain experience and seat time in NASCAR’s premier series, Busch also qualified for six Sprint Cup races. In late 2004, Busch’s career dreams came true,
as he was selected to replace the retiring Terry Labonte in Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 car beginning in 2005.
At age 19, Busch started the 2005 season with a record-setting pole at Auto Club Speedway in just his eighth career Sprint Cup start. Busch, who was 19
years, 317 days old, broke the record previously held by Donald Thomas, who was 20 years, 129 days old when he won the pole at Lakewood (Ga.)
Speedway on Nov. 16, 1952. Thomas went on to win that race and remained the youngest race winner in Sprint Cup history until Busch won at Auto Club
Speedway on Sept. 4, 2005. Busch bested Thomas’s record by a mere four days.
Finishing out his rookie season with another victory at Phoenix International Raceway in November, Busch’s first year consisted of one pole, nine top-fives,
13 top-10s, two wins and a 20th place finish in the standings. Busch bookended his Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year trophy from 2004 by winning the
Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year title, and in doing so, became the youngest winner of the award in Sprint Cup history.
The 2006 season brought more success for Busch as he notched another pole at Phoenix International Raceway in April and his third race win at New
Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in July. In addition to the pole and race win, Busch managed to bring home 10 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes while
finishing 10th in the point standings after qualifying for his first Chase for the Championship, where Busch was, yet again, the youngest driver to ever
become Chase eligible.
He continued his success in his third full season in 2007 by winning at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March and again qualifying for the Chase for the
Championship. He finished the season with a remarkable 20 top-10s and 11 top-fives and went on to complete the season fifth in the final point standings
– his career best.
In addition to his aggressive nature behind the wheel of a race car, Busch has a strong charitable drive. He formed the Kyle Busch Foundation in 2006 to
benefit child and adolescent agencies that provide safe living environments for the less fortunate. The Foundation currently supports homes in Grand
Rapids, Mich., Concord, N.C., Atlanta, Mesa, Ariz., and in Las Vegas.
Busch, single, resides in Mooresville, N.C. (www.joegibbsracing.com)
|Born: May 2, 1985
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
More statistics can be seen at http://www.racing-reference.info/driver?id=buschky01
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