Who Is Kyle Busch In NASCAR?
Kyle “Rowdy” Busch is one of the most successful NASCAR drivers of all time, having recently surpassed Richard Petty’s record for most wins across all three national series. Known for his aggressive, calculating driving style and take-no-prisoners attitude, Busch is immensely popular with fans, drawing nearly as many haters as admirers. But who is Kyle Busch in NASCAR? Keep reading to learn more about the racing legend who is still at the top of his game.
Kyle Busch was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. At age six, his father taught him to drive a go-kart, and at age ten, he became crew chief for his older brother Kurt’s modified stock car racing team. (Kurt Busch has also gone on to a career as a NASCAR Cup Series driver.) Busch started racing reduced-scale stock cars in the Legends Series at age 13. Within a span of two years, he won 65 races and two track championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In 2001, Busch began racing late models, winning ten races. That year he also made his NASCAR Truck Series debut at age 16. Roush Racing offered Busch a ride in the No. 99 Ford after driver Nathan Haseleu was released mid-season. Unfortunately, Busch was only able to make six starts (posting two top-ten finishes) before NASCAR instated new regulations raising the minimum age for competition to 18 years.
Temporarily pushed out of NASCAR, Busch kept driving stock cars, moving to the American Speed Association (ASA) National Tour. He also picked up a full-time ARCA Series ride, racing the No. 22 Chevrolet for WP Motorsports.
Finally 18, Kyle Busch was allowed back in NASCAR, with the prestigious Hendrick Motorsports giving him a full-time Busch (now Xfinity) Series ride in the No. 5 Chevrolet. His first NASCAR victory came in 2004, during his first full Busch Series season when he won the Funai 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Busch won five races total that season, tying Greg Biffle’s record for most wins by a rookie in NASCAR’s second-tier series and earning the honor of Rookie of the Year. He also made six Cup Series starts for Hendrick in 2004, the first of which was his series debut in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch’s home track.
Busch moved up to the Cup Series the next season, replacing Terry Labonte behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick. His first Cup Series win came at the 2005 Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. After a second win at Phoenix, Busch was voted Cup Series Rookie of the Year.
While Busch was racing full seasons in the Cup Series, he gradually began running more races in the Xfinity and Trucks series. In 2006 he raced a complete Xfinity Series schedule for Hendrick, and in 2008 he increased his number of Trucks Series starts considerably, driving the No. 51 Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports. While not common in NASCAR, Busch’s practice of competing in a large number of lower-tier series races while running a full Cup Series season endures today and is one of the things that distinguish him as a driver. His love of the Trucks Series and Xfinity Series has led Busch to start his own race team, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
After being released by Hendrick in 2008, Busch moved to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), driving the now-iconic No. 18 Toyota in both the Xfinity and Cup Series. Racing a full schedule in both series, he won the Xfinity Series Championship in 2009. After several more grueling seasons of racing in all three series, Busch finally won a Cup Series Championship in 2015.
Hitting his stride in the Cup Series, he won the Regular Season Championship in 2018, and again in 2019, when he also won his second Cup Series Championship. Competitive as ever, Kyle Busch still drives full-time in the Cup Series and part-time in the Xfinity Series for JGR, as well as making several Truck Series starts for his own KBM team. He currently holds the record for most all-time wins in both the Xfinity and Trucks Series.
Kyle Busch Motorsports
Busch founded his own race team, Kyle Busch Motorsports, in 2009, initially as a way for himself and former co-driver Brian Ickler to obtain rides in the Truck Series. In 2011, the team began fielding cars in the Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series as well. Since then, KBR has become a major player in the NASCAR Truck Series, bringing home driver’s championships in 2015 and 2017, thanks to drivers Erik Jones and Christopher Bell, respectively.
Today, Kyle Busch Motorsports fields three full-time Toyotas in the Camping World Truck Series. John Hunter Nemechek drives the No. 4, with Chandler Smith in the No. 18; Kyle Busch and several Toyota development drivers share the schedule in the No. 51.