Kurt Busch

Recent Role:

Gillette Young Gun on Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race

Born:

8/4/1978, Las Vegas, NV, USA

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Before he could legally drive a street car, Kurt Busch was getting plenty of attention for his ability to drive a racecar. He credits his start in racing to his father, Tom, who introduced him to the Dwarf car series when he was just 14 years old. Kurt is a third generation racer.

    By the age of 15, Busch quickly made a name for himself in the Dwarf Car Series in his hometown of Las Vegas. The Dwarf car was owned by his father at Pahrump Valley Speedway, a ¼ mile clay track outside Las Vegas. He was the Nevada Rookie of the Year in 1994 and became series champion one year later. In 1996, he captured the Hobby Stock championship at the Bullring at Las Vegas Speedway Park and garnered notice from owners in some of NASCAR's regional touring series.

    In 1997, Kurt left racing to attend college at The University of Arizona where he was interested in becoming a pharmacist. Within a year, Kurt was back in Las Vegas and ready to pursue a career in racing.

    After winning several track championships at The Bullring, Busch landed a NASCAR Southwest Series ride for local businessman Craig Keough. Kurt won Rookie of the Year honors in 1998 and the series championship in 1999 –the youngest driver ever to do so. During a Southwest Series race in 1999 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA (a race he won), Busch caught the eye of NASCAR team owner Jack Roush and won the "Gong Show" audition to drive for Jack in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series the following year. This decision paid major dividends as Busch captured 4 checkered flags and finished 2nd in the championship standings.

    However, in the Truck Series he was truly a diamond in the rough. He tied for 2nd in the Bud Pole standings with teammate Greg Biffle with 4 pole awards. He won his first race in this 14th start and won a total of four races, including the season finale Motorola 200 at California Speedway. He logged and impressive 13 top-five and 16 top 10 finishes in 25 starts.

    Busch's success led Roush to make an unprecedented decision: he moved Busch from the Truck Series directly to Winston Cup – a decision that left many experts shaking their heads.


    Nextel Cup - 2001



    Busch stepped into the No. 97 John Deere Ford formerly driver by Chad Little at Dover in September, 2001 when Little was released. Busch competed in seven events to maintain his rookie eligibility and had two top 10 starts and a best finish of 13th at Lowes Motor Speedway in October. Busch quieted the critics, finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year race with 6 top 10 finishes and his first career Cup Bud Pole Award.

    He got his first Cup victory in 2002 at the spring race at Bristol, muscling Jimmy Spencer out of the way to take the lead and the win. It would be just the first of four wins Busch would garner in a season that solidified him as a bonafide Cup star. His sophomore year proved to be the season when Busch really came to the forefront. In all, his 2002 campaign included 12 top 5 finishes and 20 top 10 finishes in 36 starts. He won the season's final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway from the Bud Pole.

    Busch finished 2002 in 4th, trailing series champion Tony Stewart by 159 points. His Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year effort took a big hit though as he was overpowered by late entrant Kevin Harvick.

    In 2003, Kurt continued to impress on the track. He won four events at Bristol, Fontana and Michigan with a sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway (including the Sharpie 500). Had four runner-up finishes, including coming up .002-seconds shy at Darlington to Ricky Craven, the closest margin of victory in the sport since the advent of electronic timing and scoring. Recorded nine top-five and 14 top-10 finishes on way to 11th place in championship standings and won the International Race of Champions (IROC) Championship with one victory and finishes of fourth-place or better in all four events.

    However, Kurt made little impression on fans and fellow drivers. It was a tumultuous year despite the excellent statistics. His success was overshadowed by his behavior both on and off the track. First, a fist fight with fellow driver Jimmy Spencer left Busch a toothless villain. He was booed at the following race at Bristol (which he won). Previously, he was overheard cussing out NASCAR President, Mike Helton and then admitting to purposely run into Robby Gordon to bring out a caution flag the year before. There is more. But Kurt has come a long way since 2001 including his life-long dream to winning a Cup Championship.

    In 2004, Kurt Busch captured the 2004 Inaugural Nextel Cup Championship win after just three years of competing in Nextel Cup. He had three wins including his third consecutive win at Bristol, and a sweep of both races at Loudon (September win at Loudon was the first race of the "Chase for the Championship"). Kurt posted 10 top-10 and 21 top-10 finishes & led 746 laps over 21 events. He held on to win the tightest points race in the sports history (eight point margin over second-place Jimmie Johnson).

    The championship title also brought about new found celebrity for Kurt. He collected $5.3 million for winning the Championship bringing his career winnings to $22.8 million. He experienced the talk show circuit, photo op with the President of the United States, charity events and a social calendar that would rival the best in the biz. No question that Kurt will be working to be more of an ambassador of the sport. He's hoping to make amends with fans and drivers and put the bad things behind him. People can say what they want about Kurt but one thing is for sure: this guy can drive a race car – he is the real deal.

    After the 2005 season, Kurt left Roush Racing to drive the #2 car for Penske Racing.

    Currently, Kurt Busch is married to Eva Bryan. They had been dating for two years and married in the summer of 2006. The story goes that a friend of Kurts introduced Eva under the presumption that Kurt was a veternarian!?! Turns out Eva digs race car drivers too. Kurt proposed to Eva while on an F1 trip to Hungary. Eva is from Norfolk, VA and was recently seen in MTVs NASCAR 360.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Kurt Busch

    Gender:

    Male

    Birth Place:

    Las Vegas, NV, USA

  • Photos (3)
  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (3)

    • Kurt: You really dont put a value on your first win, it is priceless no matter where you are.

    • Kurt: Each driver has their own identity and from one week to another, normally it stays the same. I feel comfortable around every driver out there and each driver is in charge of their own car, but you feel very secure racing the competition out there.

    • Kurt: I just always dreamed of racing cars, but I didn't think I could do it as a living.

    Trivia (40)

    • Kurt earned his big break with tragedy. Chris Trickle was shot in a mysterious way and was killed. The Star Nursery team looked for a new driver to replace Trickle in the #70 team. Kurt drove for the team and won the 1999 AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series championship.

    • His rookie season was 2001.

    • During a race in 2007, after crashing with Tony Stewart, Kurt pulled up beside Tony's car on a pit road and almost ran over one of Tony's crew members. He was suspended from the next race and fined $100,000.

    • In 2005, Kurt was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and cited for reckless driving.

    • Kurt enjoys jet skiing, snow skiing and riding four wheelers.

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