Busch, winner of 24 Cup races and the 2004 championship, also races on an "opportunity permitting" basis in the Pro Stock division of NHRA.
Busch won the 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 23 drivers with a win in all three of NASCAR's top divisions: the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series.
- 1 Early and personal life
- 2 Racing career
- 3 Controversies
- 3.1 2002
- 3.2 2003
- 3.3 2005
- 3.4 2011
- 3.5 2012
- 3.6 2013
- 3.7 Feuds with rival drivers
- 4 Motorsports career results
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early and personal life
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (August 2009)|
Busch was born to Thomas and Gaye Busch in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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. After graduating at Durango High School, Busch enrolled at the University of Arizona, hoping to earn a degree in Pharmacy.
Busch became engaged to girlfriend, Eva Bryan, while attending the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix. On July 27, 2006, three years to the day of them meeting on a blind date, they were married in Virginia. The footage was taped and later aired on national television. Busch announced on June 30, 2011, "Those in the NASCAR community have been aware for some time now that we are no longer together and we are legally separated". The announcement came days after Busch kissed another woman in Victory Lane celebration following a win at Sonoma Raceway. Busch and Eva Bryan filed for divorce in early June and were legally separated later that month.
Busch has a documented history of verbally abusing other drivers, his team and the media. Busch revealed that he has been working with a sports psychologist for two months, to work on "personal issues" according to interviews during the 2011 NASCAR Championship week.
His younger brother Kyle Busch also competes full-time in the Sprint Cup Series and runs part-time in both the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.
Busch is a close friend of famous entrepreneur Felix Sabates who co-owns Chip Ganassi Racing, and had a successful racing team SABCO Racing. In 2012 when Busch went to drive for Phoenix Racing (a CGR ally), he co-credited Sabates as having helped him convince James Finch to hire him.
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 gained national exposure while competing against Ron Hornaday, Jr., Matt Crafton, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and others for the first time in the 1997 Winter Heat Series at Tucson Raceway Park.
That led to a tryout in a Roush Racing "Gong Show", which he won and earned a Craftsman Truck Series ride. He raced the No. 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.
Sprint Cup Series
Roush Fenway Racing
Roush announced during the 2000 season that Busch was being promoted to the Winston Cup Series to replace Chad Little in Roush's No. 97 John Deere Ford for the 2001 season. However, Little was released from the ride toward the end of the season and Busch ran several races, beginning at Dover in September, with Jeff Hammond as his crew chief. Busch finished 48th in the points with no wins, top fives, or top tens.
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. However, he ran the first several races in an unsponsored car due to John Deere pulling its sponsorship before Roush signed Newell Rubbermaid as the team's sponsor, with its Sharpie brand featured on the hood of the car. He and Dale Earnhardt made contact in the Daytona 500 on lap 85. Earnhardt promptly gave Busch the bird at 185 mph.
To this day Busch recalls this as the only time he encountered Earnhardt on the track (it was actually also the last time Earnhardt and Busch competed in the same race as a result of Earnhardt's fatal crash at the end of the race). 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. Busch's best finish was third at the spring Talladega race, 3 weeks after scoring his first career Top 5 finish at Texas (4th), and he added a fifth place at Indianapolis. He also won the pole for the Southern 500 at Darlington, leading 74 laps before a late-race brush with the wall sent him to the garage. A month later he led 38 laps at Martinsville before contact with Ricky Rudd cut his left-rear tire; heavy traffic behind him made matters worse, as Busch had to complete a lap and a half before he could get to the pits. In the delay the tire carcass wrapped itself around the axle, costing him several laps. Overheating problems halted a strong performance at Rockingham in October, where he led 45 laps.
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. Busch finished 3rd in points that year. He also collected $5,105,394.
Busch had an up and down year in 2003, finishing 11th in the season standings, earning four wins (including a season sweep at Bristol, making him the first driver to do that since Rusty Wallace accomplished the feat in 2000), 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. Busch was the runner-up finisher in the closest finish in NASCAR history on March 16, 2003. The race in Darlington, South Carolina was decided with a two-lap side-by-side battle with Ricky Craven. For two laps the cars fought and eventually locked together. When the cars were attached, the final lap was ferociously fought ending up with Craven shifting ahead of Kurt Busch by 0.002 of a second, which is the closest finish in NASCAR history as well as the 2011 Aaron's 499.
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 second driver to sweep both races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway 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. Initially Roush was unhappy with Busch's decision to leave his team but when Chip Ganassi Racing announced that Jamie McMurray wanted to join Roush Racing in 2006, Roush agreed to release Busch.
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.
Busch was released from Roush Racing at the end of 2005 and joined 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 when Roush learned that Busch already signed a contract with Roger Penske before the season ended. Busch's last race with Roush-Fenway Racing and 2005 was at Texas before the final two races; because he was parked by NASCAR for an incident with the police (see below). Busch appealed and a misunderstanding on the police's part was cleared before the races but nonetheless the parking penalty was held in place.
McMurray, who was originally slated to join Roush in 2007 to drive the No. 6 (which ultimately went to David Ragan), instead replaced Busch in the No. 97, which was then renumbered to No. 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, due to snow that had fallen at the track that weekend. 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 No. 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 by holding off Robby Gordon on the final lap. Gordon and Busch on the final lap struggled for the win but it resulted in Busch holding onto the lead in the outer-loop to seal up the win. In victory circle Busch thanked Gordon for a fight for victory and said that the struggle reminded him of his 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington when Ricky Craven beat Busch by one inch to win the race after a 2 lap-long struggle to the checkers.
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, earning 2 top five and 3 top ten finishes.
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 owner's points from Busch's No. 2 car were transferred over to the No. 77 car driven by Hornish. Busch would still be guaranteed a starting spot, 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).
At the 2008 Daytona 500, Busch was contending to win and had a fast car on the final lap capable to win. He and his teammate Ryan Newman got by Joe Gibbs Racing rivals, Tony Stewart and Kurt's brother Kyle on the final lap and Kurt decided to instead of trying for the win himself, push Newman to victory. In turn 4 Newman cleared further challenges and won the race, thanking his win on Busch in victory circle. It was Roger Penske's first Daytona 500 win and it made Penske one of the few owners to win both the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 in an owner career.
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 first win since Michigan's late summer race in 2007, and his fourth win since joining Penske Racing and 18th overall.
He 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 the track and hit the wall, ricocheting into Denny Hamlin, who came down into Busch. He then spun into the grass along with eight other drivers including his brother Kyle. Busch made numerous pit stops to repair the car, and was able to finish tenth. Kurt was one of the many ones that believed that Dale Jr.'s contact was intentional and Kurt joined Earnhardt's fans, the drivers and owners in calling NASCAR to penalize Earnhardt, for the rest of the race but this was not granted.
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 than he did in the entire 2008 season. At Las Vegas he and his younger brother Kyle had a touching moment when Kyle Busch won at Las Vegas, their hometown. In victory circle, Kurt came in and shared a big hug with Kyle. Legendary driver & NASCAR announcer Darrell Waltrip called it "The most touching thing I have ever seen."
He remained in the top five in points for the rest of the season. He qualified for the Chase, and ended up 4th in the standings, the highest-ranked car that was not under the Hendrick Motorsports banner. Busch picked up another win at the 2009 Dickies 500 after his brother Kyle ran out of fuel with two laps to go.
For the 2010 season, Penske Racing brought rookie, Brad Keselowski on board to drive the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger. Busch and Sam Hornish would be his teammates. Keselowski also ran a full-time Nationwide Series, driving the No. 22 Discount Tires Dodge Challenger. 2009 Rookie Justin Allgaier accompanied him in the Nationwide Series. Steve Addington, who was Kyle Busch's crew chief for the past two seasons and led the younger Busch to 14 victories, became the crew chief for Kurt at the start of the 2010 season, as Pat Tryson left to join Michael Waltrip Racing as Martin Truex, Jr.'s crew chief.
On May 22, 2010, Busch won the 26th Annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. He then followed it up by winning the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend, becoming only the seventh driver to win both in the same year. Busch eventually made the Chase being seeded 5th in points. Busch also, amazingly, finished seventh at Daytona at the Coke Zero 400 after wrecking three times in the last twelve laps.
Busch would finish out the season 11th among the Chase contenders.
Busch earned his first Budweiser Shootout win after Denny Hamlin went below the yellow line at the end of the race at Daytona. He would go on to win the 2011 Gatorade Duel 1, and because of polesitter Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s crash in practice, which forced him into a backup car, Busch started in first for the 2011 Daytona 500, and started the 2011 season 3 for 3.
Busch won the pole for and led most of the race at Kansas, for 152 laps. However, a fuel pickup issue late hurt his chances of winning. Teammate Brad Keselowski took the victory. However, a few weeks later on June 26, Kurt finally got an elusive road course victory at Infineon Raceway. Not only did he win, but he also led the most laps with 76. Because of Brad Keselowski's injury during a practice crash at Road Atlanta, Busch filled in for Keselowski in his NASCAR Nationwide Series car for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, and Busch managed to get the pole and the win. As of August 13, 2011, Kurt Busch has won 1/4 of all of his Nationwide races. On October 2, Busch won on 2 late restarts beating Jimmie Johnson in turn 1 leading the final 43 laps to grab his first ever victory at the Monster Mile at Dover. After a frustrating final 5 races, things came to a head when Busch launched a verbal tirade against ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch at Homestead and giving an obscene gesture to workers when a car blocked his path towards his pit garage following a transmission failure at the same race. Crew chief Steve Addington moved to Stewart-Haas Racing after the 2011 season.
Busch's employment with Penske Racing terminated on December 5, 2011. Although most observers of the sport believe he was fired, Busch claimed in a public statement that the parting was "mutual": "I am grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years. Together we won a lot of races — 16 in all. ... Coming to a mutual agreement to go our separate ways is a positive step for me." In contrast, the Charlotte Observer reported several sources confirming team owner Roger Penske decided that Busch's altercation at Homestead-Miami Speedway was the last straw in his stormy tenure with the team but chose to defer the announcement until after Champion's Week.
Following his release from Penske Racing, Busch reached an agreement to drive for Phoenix Racing, driving the No. 51 Chevrolet, for the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, with limited sponsorship from TAG Heuer. He will also run a limited Nationwide Series schedule for the team, while running additional Nationwide Series races for Kyle Busch Motorsports, sharing the No. 54 Monster Energy car with his younger brother.
At the 2012 Aaron's 499 at Talladega, Busch paid homage to the 2006 racing comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby by running his #51 car with the paint scheme of Ricky Bobby's #62 "ME" Cougar car from the movie, causing NASCAR on Fox commentators Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip to jokingly refer to Busch as "Ricky Bobby" throughout the race, and Busch also dropped movie lines into radio chatter with his spotter and crew chief. Busch's girlfriend Patricia Driscoll spent months getting permission from Sony and Will Ferrell as well as other trademark and license holders. Busch's real-life fall from grace during the 2011-12 Sprint Cup off-season has been compared to Ricky Bobby's. Busch's car was one of the stronger performers, running near the front and even leading for a few laps. Towards the end of the race, with six laps to go, he dropped back when he spun out in the trioval off ex-teamate Brad Keselowski's bumper. After stopping, Busch drove backwards down pit road to get replacement tires, though he was not penalized and finished in 20th place as the last car on the lead lap.
At Darlington, Busch was turned with Ryan Newman, and both drivers' days were ended. On pit road Busch gestured and did a burnout in front of Newman, leaving one of Newman's pit crew members to have to jump to avoid being hit by Busch's car. Busch was fined $50,000 and put on a five race probation and Newman was not penalized.
On June 4, 2012, Busch feuded with Justin Allgaier at the Nationwide event at Dover and after talking to his boss and brother Kyle when asked by Bob Pockrass about being on probation Busch said with a glare "It refrains me from not beating the shit out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions. But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well If you can talk about racing things, we'll talk about many things, Bob. It is not racing, you're just a start stuff, you know that's you're all out here for!" NASCAR immediately suspended Busch from the Pocono race as a result for violating their policy forbidding swearing publically.
The following week NASCAR suspended Busch until June 13 and extended his probation until December 31. Busch was already was on probation for the confrontation with Newman and his crew following the May 12 Sprint Cup race at Darlington and for driving recklessly through Newman’s pit stall.
According to a NASCAR news release, Busch was suspended for violating Section 12-1 of the NASCAR rulebook, which covers “actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member.”
On July 6 Busch won the Nationwide Series Jalapeño 250 at Daytona by passing Austin Dillion on the final lap.
Furniture Row Racing
In his first start for FRR at the 2012 Bank of America 500, Busch finished in 21st place. He had a 25th place finish the following week at Kansas. Busch later rebounded with three consecutive top-ten finishes at Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead to end the season.
2013 started off for Busch the very same way that 2012 had started - driving with a new team, in this case, Furniture Row Racing. In spite of this, Busch showed off significant improvement over the off-year that had been 2012, both for himself and for FRR as a whole: in the three years the car was driven by Regan Smith, Furniture Row Racing had only one win, three top five, and six top-ten finishes, and only led 42 laps in Sprint Cup competition. In comparison, in the first 23 races of 2013, Busch had five top-five finishes, nine top-ten finishes, one pole position, and had led 270 laps, more than six times as many laps as the car had ever led with Smith in the previous three seasons.
Busch started off the 2013 season crashing in the Sprint Unlimited on lap 14, finishing in 13th place. He finished fifth in the Budweiser Duel, but poor handling caused him to finish the Daytona 500 in 28th place, five laps down. He did not improve much the next week at Phoenix, where he finished one lap down in 27th place. He then had a 20th place finish at Las Vegas. After three less successful runs, Busch hit a resurgence, getting a fourth place finish at Bristol.
At Fontana, Busch went a lap down briefly after being penalized for speeding during green flag pit stops, but he surged back in the last laps to finish in third place behind brother Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr..
At Martinsville, Busch had bad luck. He crashed early in the race and after repairing his damages, successfully took the lucky dog free pass. But later, on lap 487, while running many laps down, Busch lost his brakes in turn 1 and slammed the turn 1 wall hard enough to cause his engine to burst into flames. This brought out a six minute red flag. Busch was uninjured.
At Texas, Busch almost acquired the pole position with a qualifying speed of 195.688 mph, but the final one to qualify; his younger brother Kyle managed to win the pole with a speed of 196.299 mph to conclude qualifying. Kurt ended up starting second, but still on the front row. However he was disappointed to lose the pole, saying "I would rather lose to Kyle than anybody else...it is frustrating that I do lose it to him though."
At Richmond, Busch led for 36 laps and contended for victory. However on a final restart he again tangled with Tony Stewart. He had bumped Stewart on the restart causing Stewart to finish out of the top-ten. After the race ended the two cars exchanged shoves and the two argued on pit road, drawing attention away from race winner Kevin Harvick. Both were summoned to the NASCAR hauler. Busch finished in ninth place, and said to reporters that he did not intentionally hit Stewart and said he was surprised and disappointed when Stewart retaliated after the checkers.
At Talladega, Busch led two laps and was in the top ten on lap 182 when he was collected in a large pileup on the back straightaway. Busch took the worst damage in the crash as J.J. Yeley got loose from contact with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., went across the track and hit him with enough force that Busch turned sideways, flipped over once and landed on top of Ryan Newman, then slid off Newman and struck the outside wall, and was hit again by Clint Bowyer and Bobby Labonte. Busch was uninjured.
At Darlington, Busch won his first pole position of the year. From the drop of the green flag, Busch led 69 of the first 80 laps, but his handling went away after the first green flag pit stops and he was forced to settle for a 14th place finish.
At the All-Star race, Busch started up front and led 29 laps, winning two of the four 20 lap segments, with brother Kyle winning the other two. However, a poor pit stop by both Busch brothers was responsible for causing them to lose the lead and race to Jimmie Johnson for the final ten lap shootout. Kurt finished fifth.
At the Coca-Cola 600 a week later, Busch started second on the outside of the front row. Despite having to change a battery late in the race, he led eight laps and he still finished in third place, the first time he'd finished in the top three since June 2012 at Sonoma. When interviewed, he responded, “Yeah, a top-five is great. To be up front, to lead laps, that's what it's all about. So we'll get these little hiccups polished up and continue plugging forward. That's the only thing we can do, is learn from what exactly happened -- was it a cable issue, a battery that was dead, was the alternator not charging? To show our strength tonight, to finish third, we'll take it. I think that's what needs to be said. The Furniture Row team was fast, and we didn't quite have a perfect night, and we brought it home third.”
Busch then had a 12th place finish at Dover and a 7th place showing at Pocono. At Michigan, Busch qualified on the front row and led the first 21 laps, but went seven laps down when he got into an early accident on lap 30.
At Sonoma, Busch got his next top 5 with a fourth place finish at Sonoma, after leading 15 laps, then battling back from a lap down after a pair of speeding penalties on pit road.
At Kentucky, brief controversy hit Busch as on lap 48, he was responsible for causing a seven car wreck that was instigated when he went down on the apron, then came back up the track and turned Brad Keselowski approaching turn 1, causing Keselowski to shoot up the track and collect several more cars including Greg Biffle, Travis Kvapil and Dave Blaney. Busch finished sixth, and followed this up with another sixth place finish at the Coke Zero 400. This finish gave Furniture Row Racing their first ever streak of three straight top-ten finishes, and also moved Busch up to ninth in the points. However the next week at Loudon, Busch started second and led 102 laps before he was turned and wrecked by Matt Kenseth and finished 31st.
At Indianapolis, Busch had a 14th place showing. The following week at Pocono, he led nine laps and recorded a third place finish. This was followed by a ninth place finish at Watkins Glen. Returning to Michigan, Busch started on the outside of the front row, led 43 laps, and finished third, bringing himself up to ninth in driver points.
At Bristol in August, Busch started on the outside row and led 54 laps early, before a loose wheel caused him to go behind the wall, resulting in a 31st place finish, 26 laps down. However, he bounced back over the following two weeks, with a fourth place finish at Atlanta. The following week at Richmond, Busch started second and had one of the strongest cars of the night, ultimately finishing second to Carl Edwards, the team's best race finish to date. This also marked Furniture Row Racing's first ever appearance in the Chase.
At Chicagoland, Busch opened the Chase with a fourth place finish. He then had a 13th place finish at New Hampshire. At Dover, Busch finished 21st, three laps down, after he had to pit for a loose wheel. At Kansas, Busch was forced to start at the rear of the field when he crashed in practice and had to bring out a backup car. He managed to work his way through the field to finish second. This brought Busch up to ten top 5 and fifteen top 10 finishes over 30 races.
Also in 2013, Busch planned to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series for Phoenix Racing, competing in 16 events; in the event he would run only three races during the season, wrecking at Daytona but having top tens at Talladega and the second race at Daytona.
On August 26, 2013, Busch announced that he would be leaving Furniture Row Racing to join Stewart-Haas Racing, stating he had signed a multi-year deal with the team. Team co-owner Gene Haas stated he would fund Busch's ride exclusively. In late September it was revealed that Busch's car number would be the No. 41.
Busch began training in January 2011 under veteran NHRA Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson and obtained his NHRA Pro Stock competition license. He made his drag racing competition debut on March 10 at the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom Gatornationals in Gainesville. On March 12, Busch qualified in the Pro Stock field, and made his first professional drag racing Elimination-round start on March 13, losing to Erica Enders by 0.004 second in a car carrying Shell sponsorship and painted to look like his NASCAR Sprint Cup car. Busch is only the third driver to cross over between NASCAR and NHRA, the other two being Richard Petty and John Andretti.
In 2003, during CART's pre-season test at Sebring International Raceway, Busch tested a Champ Car for three-time CART champion Bobby Rahal. Ford, Busch's manufacturer in Winston Cup at the time, were CART's exclusive engine supplier, and the test was merely for fun rather than evaluation. Driving a car fielded for Michel Jourdain, Jr. (who later tried NASCAR), Kurt was pleased with the experience, though he was several seconds off pacesetter Oriol Servia's time.
In 2013 it was announced that Busch would test an IndyCar for Andretti Autosport, owned by 1991 IndyCar champion Michael Andretti, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti, the defending championship team, use Chevrolet engines, as Busch's Furniture Row Racing team does in Sprint Cup. Busch did not comment on whether or not he was preparing for Indianapolis 500. In January 2014 he insisted that he is interested in competing at the Indianapolis 500.
Busch is notable for having been a rival of fellow driver Jimmy Spencer. In 2002 at Bristol, Spencer was leading with 150 laps left in the race. With 56 laps to go, Busch came up to Spencer's #41 Target Dodge. After a small bump Spencer slowed and Busch got by. Busch led the rest of the race and took his first Sprint Cup win. As Spencer finished the race he radioed "We will never forget what happened today guys" in regards to the contact.
At Indianapolis later in summer 2002, Busch was racing in the top ten. He aggressively passed Spencer on lap 37. In reply Spencer deliberately tapped Busch who then crashed into the turn 3 wall. Busch climbed out of his demolished car and until paramedics came, whenever he saw Spencer driving by him under caution, he pointed at Spencer and repeatedly shouted at him. When interviewed Kurt called Jimmy Spencer a "never-was" Spencer replied "Kurt has a lot to learn, and some of that is to control his mouth".
All-Star Race incident
At Charlotte in the All-Star Challenge in May 2002, Kurt Busch was involved in an altercation with Robby Gordon. In the final segment of the race, Kurt Busch tapped Robby Gordon's #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, throwing him into the wall. After the race Kurt admitted that he spun Gordon to "put on a good show." Kurt was fined $10,000 by for the incident.
In summer 2003 at Michigan, Busch and Spencer had another run in. After Spencer was accidentally wrecked by Busch, he was livid. When the race ended, Spencer saw Busch driving by him in the garage. Spencer reportedly went into Busch's window and punched Busch in the face. Spencer was led away, and Busch was taken to a hospital with a broken nose and a dental injury. The next morning NASCAR and Ultra Motorsports declared that Spencer would be parked for the Cup race at Bristol the next weekend as a consequence. The week before the race Spencer also was fined $35,000 and put on probation for the rest of the year. Spencer was nearly arrested by the police for the charges of assault until NASCAR promised to handle it. After this incident Spencer and Busch did not get involved with each other anymore on the track. In 2013, Busch and Spencer announced that they are now close friends and no longer have grudges against each other.
Busch's 2005 season ended two races short after a confrontation during the fall Phoenix 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.
2007 All-Star Race Incident
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In 2007 at the All-Star Race, Kurt had a public breakdown with his younger brother Kyle. In the final laps of the All-Star Race, Kurt and Kyle had the $1 million purse in their sight. However with about ten laps left in the race Kurt and Kyle began beating their cars. Eventually their contact resulted in the two crashing out of contention to win. Kevin Harvick went by to steal an unpopular win; but the center of the attention and media was on Kurt and Kyle's feud. Kyle and Kurt were livid with each other in the post-race ceremonies and were arguing on pit road. When Kurt was interviewed he retorted that he was no longer going to buy Kellogg's (Kyle's sponsor) and said that Kyle was fighting dirty. When Kyle was interviewed he said that he wanted to cleanly get by Kurt and that Kurt shoved up his car for no reason. The next week when they refused to reconcile, NASCAR had officials separate them for the rest of the season to avoid any on-track or off-track incidents. The two brothers did not speak to each other for 6 months until the long memorable 2007 NASCAR Cup season was over. When the Busch family was at a family reunion for Thanksgiving in Las Vegas, by the persuasion of their grandmother, Kurt and Kyle Busch apologized to each other.
Richmond (spring race)
During the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Busch went on a profanity-laced rant on his in-car radio that appeared to be directed at then Penske racing technical director Tom German. Busch was reportedly dissatisfied with Tom and at one point during the race said ""I'm sorry, our day was done when Tom German decided he was in charge".
Richmond (fall race)
During the September 11, 2011 Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Busch locked up his brakes and accidentally wrecked Jimmie Johnson on lap 186. Despite it being clear that Kurt did not intend to crash him, Jimmie Johnson did not see it that way; and later retaliated spinning Busch going into Turn 1 sixty laps later and was parked for the balance of the race. Busch ended up in 5th place and called Johnson "A five time chump-ion." 
In the post race interview, Busch was quoted as saying on ABC that he was "in [Johnson's] head,". He had to be restrained after the race when NASCAR.com reporter Joe Menzer asked “Kurt, can either you or Jimmie win the Chase...”. Busch cut Menzer off replying “How did I see you were going to come with that? We’re good.” and started to walk away. Busch ultimately shouted expletives and physically went after Menzer before Penske team members had to physically restrain him. Jenna Fryer later in a press conference asked Johnson about the comment during the ABC post race interview, Busch interrupted saying "I didn't say that tonight. Did not." Fryer offered to show him the ABC transcript, which he looked at after the interview. Busch proceeded to tear up the transcript showing he had made these statements and walked out of the media center.
At the start of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Busch's team was delayed in rolling their car to pit road until after the National anthem. This was done in response by NASCAR to an issue with the rear-end housing.[clarification needed] Jamie Little, walking with Busch, asked if he was okay with her asking a question. Busch responded, "Why the f*** do you think I would be okay, I gotta go get in my car. NASCAR told me I gotta get in my car".
In the final race of the 2011 season, Busch finished 47 laps behind the leaders, after spending time in the garage for mechanical issues that developed in the first five laps. While turning into the garage, Busch made an obscene hand gesture. While his car was undergoing repairs, Busch verbally abused Dr. Jerry Punch while waiting to be interviewed by Punch for ESPN, in an incident captured by a fan and posted on YouTube. NASCAR fined Busch $50,000 for his actions during the race, and Penske Racing issued an apology for Busch's "inappropriate actions".
In December 2011, he announced that he was seeing a sports psychologist, acknowledging "I need to be a better person on the radio, to the team, as a leader. It's personal issues, of course, and working with a sports psychologist, I've gotten obviously a small grasp, but there's obviously bigger things that I need to accomplish and things can't happen overnight."
With six laps remaining in the Bojangles' Southern 500, Busch cut a tire and subsequently caused a wreck that involved not only his car but also Ryan Newman. When leaving his pit (directly in front of Newman), Busch did a burnout and sped next to where crew members and NASCAR officials where standing. Following the conclusion of the race, while entering pit road, Busch bumped Newman's car. Busch explained the incident as an accident and unrelated, caused by taking his helmet off and not seeing where he was going. Andrew Rueger, Newman's gas man, went after Busch following the race. This turned into a heated argument, accidentally knocking over a NASCAR official. Newman, giving an interview to Sports Illustrated, was quoted as saying, "It's easy to say that Kurt blew a fuse again, I'm not sure why he did it and tried to run over our guys and NASCAR officials. And nobody is. I think the chemical imbalance speaks for itself. Kurt drilled me in pit lane and said that he was taking his helmet off, and he didn't see where he was going. I'm pretty sure there were 42 other guys that are taking their helmets off and doing whatever for the last 10 years, and that's the first time that's happened to me." On May 15, 2012, NASCAR announced that Busch had been fined $50,000 and placed on probation until July 25, 2012 for "reckless driving on pit road during the race" and for being "involved in an altercation with another competitor after the completion of the race."
After the 2012 5-hour Energy 200, Busch, who was already on probation following the above altercation with Newman at Darlington, was upset with Justin Allgaier after a close call during the race. After the race, Bob Pockrass, a reporter with the Sporting News, asked Busch if being on probation made an impact during the Nationwide Series race. Busch replied "It refrains me from not beating the shit out of you right now because you ask me stupid questions. But since I'm on probation, I suppose that's improper to say as well.". On June 4, NASCAR suspended Busch for both the upcoming tire test and the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway, and extended his probation though December 31, 2012. For this race, Busch's car was driven by David Reutimann, who finished in 21st place on the lead lap.
Busch's #51 was parked on lap 99 by NASCAR after Busch drove away from track workers that were tending to his car, which had run out of gas and crashed on the back straightaway after being accidentally spun out by Jamie McMurray. He had been leading the race before the accident and soon the medical assistance arrived. Busch realized that his fuel tank was not completely empty and tried to drive it to the garage for repairs. As a medical bag was dragged with the car and slipped off NASCAR ordered Kurt to stop his car for the medical assistance but Busch ignored the order. His car ran out of gas just in turn 4 and NASCAR officials picked him up and parked the #51 team for the remainder of the race. Kurt Busch said goodbye to his team members since he was to drive the #78 car for a multi-year deal after the race and when asked about the incident, Busch said that he ignored the order because he did not have his helmet on and could not hear his crew chief's order to stop. NASCAR investigation that week proved that this appeal was true and therefore they did not penalize Busch any further after the parking.
On the final restart of the Toyota Owners 400, Busch and Tony Stewart had another altercation. Busch had previously led 36 laps of the race and was in contention to win. Stewart because of slight contact lost 17 spots and Busch finished in 9th place behind race winner Kevin Harvick. When the race was over, seconds after the checkers flew, Stewart bumped Busch, who also bumped Matt Kenseth. Their shoving match using their cars caused Busch's to be damaged. Both were summoned to the NASCAR hauler. During the post-race ceremonies, the fans noticed Busch and Stewart arguing near the NASCAR hauler. When interviewed Busch said he did not intentionally hit Stewart but was trying to cleanly race him to the finish. Stewart disagreed with this because the two drivers had had several prior incidents in 2007 and 2008 in similar fashion.
At Loudon in the July race, Busch started in the front row alongside former teammate Brad Keselowski. After brother Kyle led 53 laps of the event, Kurt dominated the race leading for 102 laps and driving in the top ten. With about 75 laps left in the race Busch again crashed with Ryan Newman. Busch's crew fixed the car amazingly before the restart and got back on the track but finished about 20 laps down. Kyle Busch, who finished in second spot in the race, stood up for Kurt as well as drivers such as David Gilliland, Danica Patrick and Kenseth. With his brother, Kyle spent the post-race ceremonies insulting Ryan Newman for his part in the accident. Kyle said to reporters "I really hate that Kurt got tore up. He was the class of the race but man just stupidity. Ryan Newman is the biggest stupid idiot out there and is a big ogre. But we are all glad that he is out of a job." It had been previously announced at nearly the same time as the post-race ceremonies, that Ryan Newman would not be a part of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. Newman just smiled when he heard these words and said "They are both a heck of talent and both are good kids off the track but when they are on the track they are both not so bright. We'll leave it at that."
Feuds with rival drivers
Aside from Jimmy Spencer, Busch has had notable run-ins with Greg Biffle, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, future teammates Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, and even with younger brother Kyle, for whom he raced for in the Nationwide Series in 2012.
On June 4, 2007 in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway, after a tangle with Stewart on lap 264, Busch drove up beside Stewart's car on pit road, and gestured through his window netting causing a pit crew member to jump over Stewart's hood to avoid being hit. Busch was parked for the rest of the race, penalized 100 championship points, fined $100,000, and placed on probation until the end of the year.
Busch would tangle with Stewart again the following season. During practice for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, Stewart clipped the back end of Busch's car and sent 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.
In 2013 Busch and Stewart had another altercation at Richmond. On a final restart Busch drove by Stewart, who afterwards got loose and lost 15 positions. After the race ended with Busch in ninth, Stewart made contact with Busch to express displeasure and another bump ruined Kurt's car. While Harvick was celebrating in victory lane, Stewart and Busch began arguing which turned the fans' attention to the argument rather than Harvick's win. Busch said he was just racing Stewart cleanly on the final lap and was satisfied with his good run for his new Furniture Row team.
Busch also has a bitter history with Kevin Harvick. At Bristol in 2006, Harvick spent the drivers meeting and his pre-race interview taunting Busch. Busch ignored his insults and got the last laugh by winning the race, while Harvick ended up in second place. When Harvick was interviewed after the race ended he said that he was happy with his finish but was very upset to seeing Busch win, before calling Busch a "whiner." Richard Childress later apologized for his driver's comments and NASCAR gave Harvick a warning not to target Busch. Ironically, in 2014, with both drivers moving from their previous teams to Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch and Harvick will become teammates with Stewart.
On June 21, 2009 in the Toyota Save-Mart 350, Busch was involved in a wreck with Jimmie Johnson. Three weeks later at Chicagoland Speedway, both Johnson and Busch were involved in another incident where they collided into each other. Busch then retaliated by colliding with Johnson's car in the door area shortly after the contact. Over a year later, Busch was involved in a crash on lap 165 at Pocono's August race after bumpdrafting with Johnson. His part was overshadowed by Elliott Sadler's violent hit into the inside wall in the same crash. Busch and Johnson were also involved on the final lap of the August 2011 Pocono race in which both made contact when battling for 3rd place. The two would exchange words on pit road after the race.
Later in September 2011 when Busch was racing at the fall Richmond race after he and Johnson were told to settle down after Pocono; Busch accidentally made contact that resulted with Johnson spinning out in smoke. Almost 60 laps later, Johnson waited for Busch to come back around the track and intentionally retaliated by making contact resembling the previous spin. Although it looked like Busch would avoid the result of crashing, Busch was spun around when avoiding another car during the contact. Johnson was black-flagged for several laps because radio communications proved that Busch's first contact with Johnson was not intentional. After the race Busch, satisfied with his top-five finish, called Johnson "A five time chumpion" and said he was in Johnson's head always. He then shook hands with Johnson during the post-race ceremonies to put the incident behind both of them.
Motorsports career results
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
|Year||Starts*||Wins||Non-Points Wins||Top Fives||Top Tens||Poles||Rank||Winnings||Team(s)|
|2013||36||0||0||11||16||1||10th||$5,192,213||Furniture Row Racing|
(Data current as of November 24, 2013)
- Stan Creekmore (January 7, 2011). "BUSCH WORKING WITH ALLEN JOHNSON FOR POTENTIAL GATORS DEBUT". Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- "Kurt Busch Divorce: NASCAR Driver Divorcing Wife Eva Bryan". Huffington Post. July 1, 2011.
- "Kurt Busch seeing psychologist to address 'personal issues'". CBSSports.com.
- Livingstone, Seth (April 30, 2012). "Cubs fan Kurt Busch lives NASCAR, breathes baseball". USA Today. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- 2000 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. 2000. UMI Publications. Page 321 – profile of 2000 season Craftsman Truck Series drivers.
- 2000 NASCAR Preview and Press Guide. 2000. UMI Publications. Page 437 – profile of 1999 Featherlite Southwest Series champion (Kurt Busch).
- Katsilometes, John (February 28, 2008). "A Checkered Saga". Las Vegas Weekly. Las Vegas, NV. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- 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
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- Tryson takes over No. 2 Kurt Busch Crew Chief Duties
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- "Kurt Busch comes oh-so close at Charlotte"
- Associated Press (August 26, 2013). "Kurt Busch to Join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014". ABC News. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
- Utter, Jim (September 23, 2013). "Kurt Busch's car number in 2014 will be ...". The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, NC. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Oreovicz, John. IndyCar -- Kurt Busch back - yes, back - in and IndyCar, ESPN, May 3, 2013, Retrieved 2013-05-03
- Kurt Busch mulls Indy 500 run - Brant James, ESPN, 17 January 2014
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- Fryer, Jenna (May 19, 2005). "NASCAR growing tired of Kurt Busch's behavior". TimesDaily. Florence, AL. p. 6C. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
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- Associated Press. Kurt Busch cited for reckless driving. NASCAR.com. URL Retrieved July 12, 2006.
- Associated Press. 'Last straw': Kurt Busch suspended for rest of season. ESPN.com. URL Retrieved July 12, 2006.
- Busbee, Jay. "Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch ramp up their feud another notch".
- W. Pennell, Jay. "NASCAR At Richmond: Kurt Busch Has To Be Restrained From Going After Reporter". SB Nation.
- Busbee, Jay. "See Kurt Busch rip a piece of paper! In half!".
- Spencer, Reid. "Inspection failure gets Kurt Busch’s day off to rocky start". Sporting News.
- Rosser, Aaron. "NASCAR At Loudon: Drama For Kurt Busch Prior To Race". SB Nation.
- "Kurt Busch's latest outburst may cost him his spot at Penske Racing". CNN. November 30, 2011.
- Busbee, Jay (December 2, 2011). "Bravo to Kurt Busch for seeing a sports psychologist". From The Marbles. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
- Blount, Terry. "Kurt Busch misbehaves at Darlington Raceway". ESPN.
- Newton, David. "Kurt Busch fined, placed on probation". ESPN.com.
- "NASCAR fines Kurt Busch $50,000 after Darlington". Associated Press. May 15, 2012.
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- Klopman, Michael (June 3, 2012). "NASCAR Star Threatens Reporter". Huffington Post.
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- Fryer, Jenna (2012-06-05). "Reutimann to replace Kurt Busch at Pocono". observernewsonline.com. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
- "NASCAR Talladega: Kurt Busch wrecks after leading, gets parked by NASCAR officials". Sporting News. October 7, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- Gargill, David & Penn, Nate (2006). The Ten Most Hated Athletes. men.style.com. URL Retrieved July 12, 2006.
- "Kurt Busch Career Statistics". Racing-Reference.info. August 4, 1978. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
- Official website
- Kurt Busch driver statistics at Racing Reference
- 10 Questions with Kurt Busch – July 2005 interview of the defending Nextel Cup champ
|NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion
|IROC XXVII Champion
|NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Champion
|NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Winner
|Budweiser Shootout Winner
|NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year