Busch Best Rookie

What started out on paper as a close race for this year's NEXTEL Cup rookie title turned into a blowout.

Kyle Busch clinched the 2005 Raybestos "Rookie of Year," beating out No. 77-Travis Kvapil, who was the only other full-time rookie driver.

Busch racked up two wins, one pole, nine top-fives and 13 top 10 finishes this season. He claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race 23 times in 36 races and was the only Raybestos Rookie to post a top-five finish this season.

"We had a great season and I owe it to everyone at hendrick Motorsports who gave me such an incredible crew and car all season," Busch said upon officially receiving the award at the NASCAR Awards Banquet in New York last week.

Busch joins Jeff Gordon (1993) as the only Hendrick Motorsports drivers to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. He is the first Raybestos Rookie to post two or more wins since Jimmie Johnson won three races in 2002. Busch turned the trick in 2005 with victories at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

Busch also became the youngest pole winner in NASCAR's premier series (19 yrs., 9 mos. and 24 days) when he grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot for the February 27 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. He is also the most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole and is the only first-year driver to win a pole in 2005.

When he drove to his California win, Busch became the youngest race winner in NASCAR's premier series beating out Donald Thomas who was 20 yrs, 4 months, 6 days old when he won at Lakeland in 1952, Busch was 20 yr, 4 months, 2 days old

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