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12 PhotosKURT BUSCH
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- December 27, 2012
Kurt Busch’s racing career got off to a strong start after winning the regional NASCAR Southwest Tour championship in 1999, where at age 21, he became the series’ youngest title winner.
The very next season, Busch moved up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – a stepping-stone division to the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It didn’t take long for Busch to catch on, as he won four races and finished runner-up in the championship standings while earning rookie of the year honors.
Busch’s rapid rise and instant success caught the eye of legendary team owner Jack Roush, who put Busch in one of his Sprint Cup cars that same season. By 2001, Busch was a full-time Sprint Cup competitor, skipping the NASCAR Nationwide Series – racing’s equivalent to Triple A baseball – and becoming the face of NASCAR’s youth movement. As expected, he experienced highs and lows during his rookie season, but soon settled into the seat in his sophomore year, winning four races and one pole. His consistency, made apparent by his 20 top-10 finishes, allowed Busch to finish the 2002 season third in the championship standings.
Another solid year in 2003 set the tone for Busch’s most memorable season in 2004, when he won the Sprint Cup title in the inaugural year of the Chase.
In 2006, Busch became the lead driver at Penske Racing, taking over the famed No. 2 Dodge, a.k.a. the “Blue Deuce,” Rusty Wallace made famous. Over the next six seasons, the partnership saw tremendous success, as Busch qualified for the Chase on four occasions. Busch’s tenaciousness and his savvy ability to wheel a stock car kept Penske Racing at the forefront of NASCAR.
The 2012 season signifies a new endeavor for Busch, who will team up with his brother Kyle in the Nationwide Series where the duo will compete on behalf of Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Kurt will split driving duties in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota with his brother as they attempt to capture the Nationwide Series owners championship.
In Sprint Cup, Kurt pilots the No. 51 Phoenix Racing machine.