|Birthdate:||August 4, 1978|
|Hometown:||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|First Career Cup race:||September 24, 2000 (Dover)|
|Career Cup Poles:||24|
|Career Cup Wins:||29|
|Best Cup Championship Finish:||1st – 2004|
Kurt Busch began his racing career at 14, driving a Dwarf Car owned by his father at Pahrump Valley Speedway, a quarter-mile clay track outside Las Vegas. In 1996, Busch was the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Hobby Stock champion at The Bull Ring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, among three titles he won at the 3/8-mile-paved venue. Busch won the Nevada Dwarf Car championship in 1995 and was Legends Car National Rookie of the Year in 1996.
In consecutive seasons, he won the Featherlite Southwest Series Rookie of the Year Award in 1998, became the youngest FSWS championship in 1999, finished second in the championship, and won the rookie of the year award in the Camping World Truck Series and also made his Cup Series debut in 2000.
Busch stepped into the No. 97 John Deere Ford formerly driven by Chad Little at Dover in September when Roush released Little. Busch competed in seven events to maintain his rookie eligibility and had two top-10 starts and a best finish of 13th, in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October.
In the Truck Series in 2000, he truly was a diamond in the rough, however. He tied for second in the Bud Pole standings with teammate Greg Biffle, with four pole awards apiece. He won his first race in his 14th start and won a total of four races, including the season finale Motorola 200 at California Speedway. He logged an impressive 13 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes in 24 starts.
His Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year effort in 2001 took a big hit with four finishes of 30th or worse in his first six starts and Busch was eventually overpowered by late entrant Kevin Harvick as he tottered to an uneven 27th in the standings.
However, the next season saw Busch come to the forefront of Cup racing. In all, Busch’s 2002 campaign included four victories, including three of the season’s last five, 12 top-five finishes and 20 top-10 finishes in 36 starts. He won the season’s final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway from the pole.
Busch finished the year fourth in the Cup standings, trailing series champion Tony Stewart by 159 points.
Busch won the inaugural NASCAR Chase for the Cup in 2004, tying Jeff Gordon for the distinction of being the third-youngest champion in series history at 26 years, 3 months, 27 days.
Busch, who held off runner-up Jimmie Johnson by only eight points, finished with three wins, one pole, 10 top-fives and 21 top-10s.
Although Busch scored three wins and made the “Chase for the Cup” for a second consecutive season, the 2005 season is one Busch will want to forget, despite agreeing to take over the famed No. 2 Miller Lite machine from the retiring Rusty Wallace at the end of the season.
After feuding over his contract negotiations with owner Jack Roush, Busch was finally let go in the last month of the season. With two races to go, Roush let Busch step out of the car two races earlier as he was suspended by Roush for the remainder of the Cup Series season in response to a police altercation in Phoenix.
As a first year member of Team Penske in 2006, Busch scored one victory, seven top-fives and 12 top-10s and finished 16th in the final rundown.
In 2007, Busch had his best season-to-date behind the wheel of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. That season he scored two wins, won one pole, six top fives, 14 top-10s, and finished the season in seventh position earning a total of $5,136,061.
Although he won one race in 2008, Busch recorded his worst points finish (18th) in the standings since his rookie season.
Busch bounced back in 2009, leading the Dodge brigade with a fourth-place finish in the point standings, and brought the Team Penske Miller Lite Charger into victory lane twice.
The 2010 Cup Series season marked the end of an era for Busch who drove his final campaign behind the wheel of the iconic Penske Racing Miller Lite Dodge.
Busch moved to the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge for the 2011 season leaving behind a wealth of memories as driver of the “Blue Deuce.”
Unfortunately for Busch his 2010 did not end with a good memory. Although he qualified for the Chase, Busch was not able to perform to the best of his ability once the 10-race playoff race began.
A string of poor finishes and mechanical problems added up to drop Busch down the standings and he finished the campaign 11th, 480 points behind champion Jimmie Johnson.
Despite the end-of-year disappointment, there were highlights for Busch along the way including nine top fives, 17 top 10s, two poles and a pair of victories as well as a trip to victory lane in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch followed his triumph in the prestigious all-star event with a win in the following week’s Coca-Cola 600.
Busch’s 2011 season ended in disappointment, also, when he was released from Team Penske following a profanity-laden tirade directed at ESPN pit road reporter Dr. Jerry Punch following the driver’s retirement from the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
On the track, Busch qualified as the No. 7 seed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He ended the year in 11th place with 16 top 10s in 36 starts – including victories at Sonoma and Dover.
Busch began the 2012 season with Phoenix Racing and ended it at Furniture Row Racing. He had just one top five in 35 starts, a third-place finish in June at Sonoma, Calif. Busch was 25th in the final point standings.
He also made a combined 18 starts in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, posting NXS victories at Richmond International Raceway and Daytona International Speedway.
The 2013 season was his last at Furniture Row Racing. The single-car team made the post-season Chase, with Busch earning the 10th – and final – automatic berth. That’s right where he finished in the final point standings after posting 16 top 10s in his 36 starts.
Busch had a best finish of second, twice: to Carl Edwards in the fall event at Richmond International Raceway and to Kevin Harvick in October at Kansas Speedway.
He also made three starts in the Xfinity Series with a best finish of fourth, twice: at Talladega Superspeedway in May and Daytona International Speedway in July.
For the 2014 Cup Series, Busch moved to Stewart-Haas Racing – where he has shown improvement in the final standings in each of his three seasons there. He was 12th in 2014, 8th in 2015 and 7th in 2016 – during which he earned the No. 12 seed in the Chase. Busch had one victory, in June at Pocono Raceway, and added two poles.
The 2018 season will mark Busch’s 19th year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and his fifth with SHR. Five of Busch’s 29 career victories have come with SHR, highlighted by his victory in the 2017 Daytona 500.
Taking over as crew chief for Busch and the No. 41 team in 2018 is Billy Scott, who joined SHR in 2016 as crew chief for Danica Patrick and the No. 10 team. Tony Gibson, who has been the crew chief for the No. 41 team since November 2014 and a crew chief at SHR since the organization’s inception in 2009, will remain with SHR in an unnamed capacity.