Love him, love him not, there is no denying that at the age of 24, Kyle Busch is a force to be reckoned with.
He made six starts before an incident at the California Speedway took him out of contention. During Truck Series practice, Busch was ejected from the track by CART officials because the American Racing Wheels 200, which was taking place that weekend, featured a Marlboro sponsored Championship Series event.
The Master Settlement Agreement of 1998, prohibited persons under the age of 18 from participating in events sponsored by tobacco companies.
Six weeks later, NASCAR imposed a minimum age of 18 beginning in 2002 to prevent future incidents from happening. At that time, Winston was still the sponsor of NASCAR’s title series.
(In 2007, the rule changed; Camping World (East and West) Series and Whelen Modified (North and South) Tours will now permit drivers as young as 16 to enter the races. NASCAR will also not allow an IRL race to be held in conjunction with either tour because of age restrictions.)
Busch switched from NASCAR to the ASA Series in 2002 after NASCAR’s age requirements were put into place. He finished eighth in the championship points.
In 2004, he ran full time in the Nationwide Series, winning five races, Rookie of the Year and finishing second in the points standings.
1. 1. May 14 -Funai 250, Richmond International Raceway (NW)
2. 2. May 29 -Carquest Auto Parts 300, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (NW)
3. 3. June 19 -Meijer 300, Kentucky Speedway (NW)
4. 4. August 7 -Kroger 200, O’Reilly raceway Park (NW)
5. 5. August 21 -Cabela’s 250, Michigan International Speedway (NW)
In 2005, at the age of 19, he began his first full season in the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports, driving the No. 5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevrolet.
In September of that year, he became the youngest winner in a Cup Series at California Speedway, the same track that had denied him a chance just four years earlier. He won a second time in Phoenix and took home Rookie of the Year honors.
Busch returned to the Truck Series that same year for a limited number of races, in Billy Ballew Motorsport’s Chevrolet taking home three victories and at the age of 20, became the youngest driver to win a Truck Series race.
6. 6. May 20 –Quaker State and Lube 200, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (TS)
7. 7. May 28 –Carquest Auto Parts 300, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (NW)
8. 8. June 4 -MBNA Race Points 200, Dover International Speedway (TS)
9. 9. September 4 –Sony HD 500, Fontana Auto Speed Club (SC)
10. 10. October 29 –Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200, AMS (TS)
11. 11. November 13 –Checkered Auto Parts 500, Phoenix Intl. Speedway (SC)
In 2006, Busch became the youngest driver to make the Chase for the Championship and the youngest pole sitter in Sprint Cup history.
12. 12. March 25 –Sharpie Mini 300, Bristol Motor Speedway (NW)
13. 13. May 19 –Quaker State Lube 200, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (TS)
14. 14. July 16 –Lenox Industrial Tools 300, New Hampshire Motor Speedway (SC)
In 2007, Busch became the first Sprint Cup driver to win in NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow. He scored Hendrick Motorsports their 200th win (in all series) and also scored Chevrolet their 600th NASCAR victory.
On June 13, Busch announced his plans to leave Hendrick at the end of the season. It was announced that same day that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be replacing him. Busch would later say that the news of his release came as a complete surprise.
On August 14, Busch announced that he had chosen Joe Gibbs Racing for his 2008 team, replacing J.J. Yealy in the No. 18 Toyota Camry.
15. 15. March 25 –Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway (SC)
16. 16. July 7 –Winn-Dixie 250, Daytona International Speedway (NW)
17. 17. September 29 –Yellow Transportation 300, Kansas Speedway (NW)
18. 18. October 27 –Easy Care Vehicle Service Contracts 200, AMS (TS)
19. 19. November 9 –Casino Arizona 150, Phoenix International Raceway (TS)
20. 20. November 10 –Arizona Travel 200, Phoenix International Raceway (NW)
In 2008 Kyle ran the Nationwide Series for three different teams and in four different numbers, taking the checkered flag 10 times, tying Sam Ard’s Nationwide Series record for the most wins in a season.
He became the youngest driver to win at Darlington, won his first restrictor plate race in Talladega, as well as his first road course in Sonoma. He dominated the Sprint Cup series for most of the season only to see it all fall apart during the Chase after two consecutive DNF’s in Loudon and Dover.
21. 21. February 23 -San Bernardino County 200, Auto Club Speedway (TS)
22. 22. March 7 –American Commercial Lines 200, Atlanta Motor Speedway (TS)
23. 23. March 9 –Kobalt Tools 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway (SC)
24. 24. April 5 – O’Reilly 300, Texas Motor Speedway (NW)
25. 25. April 11 –Bashas’ Supermarkets 200, Phoenix International Raceway (NW)
26. 26. April 20 –Corona Mexico 200, Mexico City (NW)
27. 27. April 27 –Aaron’s 499, Talladega Superspeedway (SC)
28. 28. May 10 –Dodge Challenger 500, Darlington Raceway (SC)
29. 29. May 24 –Carquest Auto Parts 300, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (NW)
30. 30. June 1 –Best Buy 400, Dover International 400 (SC)
31. 31. June 22 –Toyota/Save Mart 350, Infineon Raceway (SC)
32. 32. June 29 – LENOX Industrial Tools 301, N.H. Motor Speedway (SC)
33. 33. July 5- Coke Zero 400, Daytona International Speedway (SC)
34. 34. July 11 –Dollar General 300, Chicagoland Speedway (NW)
35. 35. July 12 –LifeLock.com 400, Chicagoland Speedway (SC)
36. 36. July 26 –Kroger 200, O’Reilly Raceway Park (NW)
37. 37. August 10 –Centurion Boats at The Glen, Watkins Glen International (SC)
38. 38. August 20 –O’Reilly 200, Bristol Motor Speedway (TS)
39. 39. August 30 –Camping World RV Service 300, Auto Club Speedway (NW)
40. 40. September 20 –Camping World RV Sales 200, Dover Intl.Speedway (NW)
41. 41. October 10 –Dollar General 300, Lowe’s Motor Speedway (NW)
42. 42. November 1 –O’Reilly Challenge, Texas Motor Speedway (NW)
Busch came out strong at the beginning of the 2009 season by winning the second Gatorade Duel in Daytona. He led the most laps in the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row but was taken out on lap 125’s “big one.”
On February 21, Busch made history once again by becoming the first driver to win races in two of NASCAR’s series in the same day.
He swept the weekend at Richmond International Raceway by winning the Nationwide race on Friday night under the lights, followed by a Sprint Cup victory on Saturday May 2, his 24th birthday.
His birthday victory at RIR marked his 50th NASCAR career win (in all series), bringing him full circle back to the very place where he scored his very first NASCAR win on May 14, 2004.
43. 43. February 21 –San Bernardino County 200, Auto Club Speedway (TS)
44. 44. February 21 –Slater Bros. 300, Auto Club Speedway (NW)
45. 45. March 1 –Shelby 427, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (SC)
46. 46. March 7 –American Commercial Lines 200, Atlanta Motor Speedway (TS)
47. 47. March 22 –Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway (SC)
48. 48. April 4 –O’Reilly 300, Texas Motor Speedway (NW)
49. 49. May 1 –Lipton Tea 250, Richmond International Raceway (NW)
50. 50. May 2 –Crown Royal 400, Richmond International Raceway (SC)
Busch’s landmark 50th conquest began the speculation that he would be vying for a chance to challenge Richard Petty’s phenomenal 200 wins during the Grand National/Winston Cup era. Busch believes that he will never match Petty’s record in a single series, but is entertaining the thought of what 200 wins would mean.
"I'd like to get 200 victories (across all three series),” said a smiling Busch on Saturday night. “I know it's not 200 Cup victories like Richard Petty has, but it will still be a phenomenal mark for me. Hopefully I can achieve that goal. It would sure be nice to get that but I know the older I get, I'll start slowing down some way."
Kyle Busch's total STATS as of May 8, 2009.
Cup: 15 wins in 160 career starts
Nationwide: 24 wins in 147 career starts
Trucks: 11 wins in 58 career starts
TOTAL: 50 wins in 365 career starts
Please note for this article only current names for each of the NASCAR series have been used despite the fact that some were won under different championship titles.
(SC) -Sprint Cup Series, formally known as the Nextel Cup Series and Winston Cup Series.
(NW) -Nationwide Series, formally known as the Busch Series.
(TS) -Camping World Truck Series, formally known as the Craftsman Truck Series.
*There are157,234,625.968 Seconds in a five year period.