|Race Car Driver
| August 4,
| Las Vegas,
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver who was the 2004 Nextel Cup Series Champion and 2010 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner. He joined Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013, then in 2015, he was suspended from NASCAR activities for allegations of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.
He raced in go-carts as a child and was extremely successful in Dwarf racing as a teenager.
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 competing in kart racing 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 at western tracks from Southern California to Utah. In 1994, his first full year as a driver, Busch won ten consecutive races at ten 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 from Durango High School, Busch enrolled at the University of Arizona, hoping to earn a degree in Pharmacy.
Busch earned his big break after Chris Trickle was wounded in an unsolved shooting. (Trickle would die of the injuries over a year later.) 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.
Busch’s team went on to win the 1998 Auto Zone Elite Division Southwest Series Rookie of the Year. He followed up by winning the series championship in 1999.
Roush Racing announced during the 2000 season that Busch was being promoted to the Winston Cup Series to replace Chad Little in Roush’s No. 97 Ford for the 2001 season. Little ended up being released early, and Busch took over the No. 97 John Deere-sponsored Ford at Dover in September 2000. Busch ran seven of the final eight races (Little drove at Talladega) with crew chief Jeff Hammond. Busch’s best finish was a 13th-place finish at Charlotte.
Busch took over the No. 97 full-time in 2001, and ran for Rookie of the Year honors. After John Deere left the team, the No. 97 began the 2001 season unsponsored. After the team signed Rubbermaid to a multi-year contract later in the spring, Busch scored three Top 5’s and six Top 10’s that year. He and Dale Earnhardt made contact in the 2001 Daytona 500 on lap 85. Earnhardt promptly flipped Busch the bird at 185 mph or as described by lap-by-lap commentator Mike Joy in the Fox Sports booth, he simply was telling him “Kurt, you’re number one.” To this day, Busch recalls this as the only time he encountered Earnhardt on the track (it was also the last time he and Earnhardt competed in the same race as a result of Earnhardt’s fatal crash on the last lap). Busch finished 27th in the point standings and runner-up for the Rookie of the Year honor’s, and earned more than $2 million in winnings. Busch’s best finish was third at the spring Talladega race, which was three weeks after scoring his first career Top 5 finish at Texas (fourth), and he added a fifth-place in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. He also won the pole for the Southern 500 at Darlington, where he led 74 laps before a late-race brush with the wall took 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. During 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. Busch then failed to qualify at Atlanta in November.
Busch also has a bitter history with Kevin Harvick. They raced each other at carnivals and go-kart tracks as teenagers and sparred many times starting in 2001. Their feud came to a boiling point in spring 2006. At Bristol in 2006, Harvick spent the drivers meeting and his pre-race interview taunting Busch following a feud at Atlanta. Busch ignored his insults and won 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 said he was very upset to see 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. In 2007 when Harvick won two races Busch dominated such as the 2007 Daytona 500, and the 2007 All-Star Race, Busch said the same thing about Harvick: “I just hate losing to Kevin.” Ironically, in 2014, with both drivers moving from their previous teams to Stewart-Haas Racing, Busch and Harvick became teammates with Stewart.
The 2002 season was Busch’s breakout year in the Winston Cup Series. He won his first victory in the Food City 500 at Bristol, after battling hard with rival Jimmy Spencer on worn tires. Busch added a second win at Martinsville in October and then won at Atlanta the next week and in the season finale at Homestead. This gave Busch four wins, 12 Top 5’s, 20 Top 10’s, and one pole, all of which would allow him to finish third in the final standings for the year. He finished the season particularly strong, winning three of the final five races and finishing third and sixth and leading many laps in the next two. As well as his finish in the point standings, he also collected $5,105,394. The 2002 season saw Kurt Busch become the first driver in NASCAR history to win the most races in his first-ever winning season with four. He is one of only two drivers to accomplish this feat, along with Carl Edwards, who did it three years later in 2005.
During his early career, Busch was notable for having been a rival to 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 No. 41 Dodge. After a small bump, Spencer slowed and Busch got by. Busch led the rest of the race and took his first Cup win. As Spencer finished the race he radioed “We will never forget what happened today guys” regarding the contact. In a post-race interview Busch claimed it was payback for a past move at Phoenix in late 2001 in which Spencer wrecked him trying to make a pass. Spencer threateningly warned, “Jimmy never forgets.”
At Indianapolis later in summer 2002, Busch was racing in the top ten. He 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 “decrepit old has-been […] or I guess he’s a never-was.” Spencer replied “Kurt has a lot to learn, and some of that is to control his mouth”.
At Charlotte in the 2002 running of the Winston, Busch was involved in an altercation with Robby Gordon. In the final segment of the race, Busch tapped Gordon’s No. 31 Chevy, throwing him into the wall. After the race, Busch admitted that he intentionally spun Gordon to “put on a good show.” and added that he “hated to use Robby as a caution.” Kurt was fined $10,000 by NASCAR for the incident and put on probation until the end of the calendar year.
Busch had an “up and down” year in 2003. He once again recorded four wins, including a season sweep at Bristol, making him the first driver to do that since Rusty Wallace accomplished the feat in 2000). However, inconsistent results later in the season resulted in Busch falling out of the top ten in points; he finished in eleventh place with nine top fives and fourteen top tens. although he collected over US$5,000,000 again that year. Busch was also involved in a bit of NASCAR history during the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, held at Darlington on March 16 of that year. In the closing laps of the race, Busch and Ricky Craven were engaged in a tight battle for the lead. Both drivers battled loose race cars as well as each other to the finish. Busch held the lead heading into the final corner but Craven managed to pull almost even exiting turn four. With the finish line approaching both cars made contact and bumped each other repeatedly headed to the checkered flag. When it dropped, Craven had crossed the line .002 seconds before Busch and scored the victory in what was the closest ever finish to a race in NASCAR history.
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, was 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), Busch was pleased with the experience, though he was several seconds off pacesetter Oriol Servia’s time.
In summer 2003 at Michigan, Busch and Spencer had another incident. After Spencer and Busch made contact on the track, Spencer 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 bloody nose and a dental injury. For this, NASCAR and Ultra Motorsports had Spencer parked for the Cup race at Bristol the next weekend. 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 on assault charges until NASCAR promised to handle it. Since then, 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.
In 2004, Busch won three races, two poles, and the inaugural NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, the first year NASCAR held “The Chase for the 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 win both races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a single season. He scored ten Top 5’s and 21 Top 10’s.
In 2005, midway through the 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-sponsored 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 let Busch go.
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 eighth in the Cup Series Chase for the Championship at the time of the incident. He was ordered to undergo 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.
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.
Before the 2006 season, Busch underwent cosmetic surgery to have his ears pinned back closer to his head.
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 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 the parking penalty was held in place.
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 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.
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 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 midway through the season. He also ran four more Busch races, earning 2 top-five and 3 top-ten finishes.
At the 2007 NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, Busch had a public breakdown of relations with his younger brother Kyle. With ten laps to go in the race, the Busches were racing against each other, their cars made contact; eventually their contact resulted in the two crashing out of contention to win. Kevin Harvick went by to win the race; 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 the pit road. When Kurt was interviewed he stated he “wasn’t going to be eating any Kellogg’s [Kyle’s sponsor] soon”, 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 further on-track or off-track incidents. The two brothers did not speak to each other for six months; it was not until a family Thanksgiving reunion, by the persuasion of their grandmother, Kurt and Kyle Busch apologized to each other.
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.
In 2008, 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, 2008, 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.
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 with 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 bump drafting 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 third place. The two would exchange words on pit road after the race.
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 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 fifth in points. Busch also, amazingly, finished seventh at Daytona at the Coke Zero 400 after wrecking three times in the last twelve laps.
In 2011, Busch and Keselowski swapped teams and crews. Busch took over a renumbered No.22 Dodge. 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 three for three.
Busch’s employment with Penske Racing was 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. He was replaced in the No. 22 by A. J. Allmendinger. Kurt Busch later said that the dismissal was mostly because, following his engine blow-up in Homestead, he was frustrated that the No. 22 team was unable to compete for championships, and he and Penske couldn’t agree on whether the problem was the car or the driver. However, Busch also said that he maintains a friendship with Penske.
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, 2011, Busch qualified in the Pro Stock field and made his first professional drag racing Elimination-round start on March 13, 2011, losing to Erica Enders by 0.004 seconds. Busch is only the third driver to cross over between NASCAR and NHRA, the other two being Richard Petty and John Andretti.
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 are obviously bigger things that I need to accomplish and things can’t happen overnight.”
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 in 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.
Busch is a close friend of famous entrepreneur Felix Sabates, who co-owns Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR), 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.
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 No. 51 car with the paint scheme of Ricky Bobby’s No. 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 offseason has been compared to Ricky Bobby’s. Busch’s car was one of the stronger performers, running near the front and 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-teammate Brad Keselowski’s bumper. After stopping, Busch drove backward 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.
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, “It refrains me from not beating the s*** 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 here just to 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 publicly.
On July 6, 2012, Busch won the Nationwide Series Jalapeño 250 at Daytona by passing Austin Dillon on the final lap.
On September 24, 2012, it was announced that Busch would drive the No. 78 Chevrolet SS for Furniture Row Racing for the 2013 season, replacing Regan Smith. The connection started when then-crew chief Todd Berrier called Busch to gague his interest in driving for FRR.
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 were 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 after the 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 s*** 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.
Aside from Spencer and Gordon, Busch has had notable run-ins with Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, teammates Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, and even with younger brother Kyle, for whom he raced in the Nationwide Series in 2012.
2013 started for Busch the very same way that 2012 had – 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 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, 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.
Also in 2013, Busch planned to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series for Phoenix Racing, competing in sixteen events; in the event he would run only three races during the season, wrecking at Daytona but having top-ten finishes 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.
In 2013 it was announced that Busch would test an IndyCar for Andretti Autosport, owned by 1991 CART champion Michael Andretti, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Andretti, the defending championship team, used 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.
In 2013, Busch and Stewart had yet another altercation at Richmond. On a final restart, Busch drove by Stewart, who afterward 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 that he was just racing Stewart cleanly on the final lap and was satisfied with his good run for his new Furniture Row team. The following season, Busch was hired to drive for the team Stewart owns.
On Friday, November 7, 2014, it was reported that Busch was under investigation for domestic assault for an incident on September 26, 2014, in Dover, Delaware. The incident in question involved Busch’s ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll inside a motorhome at Dover International Speedway. On February 16, 2015, Busch was given a no-contact order by a Dover judge. Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR February 20, 2015. On March 5, 2015 the Delaware attorney general’s office decided that there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges for domestic violence. NASCAR, however, did not lift the suspension choosing to continue a reinstatement program agreed upon by Busch. The official statement from NASCAR read “He has accepted the terms and conditions of a reinstatement program and is actively participating in the program. Busch’s eligibility for reinstatement will continue to be governed by that program and the NASCAR rule book, though the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges certainly removes a significant impediment to his reinstatement.”
In October 2014 at Martinsville, Busch was introduced to polo player Ashley Van Metre by her sister, who was also a friend of Busch. The two eventually began dating, and Busch announced their engagement on August 26, 2015. They were married on January 7, 2017.
It was announced on March 4, 2014 that Busch would attempt to qualify for the 2014 Indianapolis 500, driving a fifth car for the Andretti Autosport team, and attempt to perform double duty: racing in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day.
On October 21, 2014, Busch announced he would race in the 2014 Race of Champions for Team USA alongside IndyCar’s Ryan Hunter-Reay. He also competed alongside his brother Kyle Busch in the 2017 Race of Champions for Team USA NASCAR, ultimately losing to Team Germany’s Sebastian Vettel in the final round of the Nations’ Cup.
Busch started his season on a rough note in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited when he got collected in 2 multi-car accidents. At the second Budweiser Duel, he was running second behind Jimmie Johnson with nine laps to go. He went below the yellow line by accident and improved his spot. He was given a stop-and-go-penalty by officials which sent him to the back of the field for the final results.
On February 20, 2015, Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR after a Delaware family court cited “more likely than not” that Busch had abused his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. The accusation came after the couple split up and she came to the Dover track and let herself into his motor coach without permission using Busch’s entrance code. Regan Smith replaced him for the Daytona 500 along with the races held at Atlanta and Las Vegas. Kurt Busch applied for reinstatement ten days after the Daytona 500 and began his reinstatement program.
On March 11, 2015, NASCAR lifted Busch’s indefinite suspension after prosecutors in Delaware determined there was not enough evidence to bring a criminal case against Busch, making him eligible to compete again, starting with the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix. Driscoll is now under federal indictment for fraud and misusing charitable donations for personal gain. Additionally, Busch was granted a waiver by NASCAR, making him still eligible for the Chase if he won a race between then and the autumn Richmond event. In his first race back from suspension, Busch finished fifth. At Auto Club, Busch won the pole and led the most laps (65), before being bumped back to third due to a last-lap pass by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. The race ended in controversy as, according to an online poll, 69% of the fans suspected a fix in the waning laps on NASCAR’s part. NASCAR denied the allegations but not before the controversy broke out for the next few days following the race.
Busch would finish 8th in 2015 championship points despite missing the first three races of the season, scoring 21 top 10s and 3 poles.
On February 20, 2015, Busch became the first driver suspended for allegations of domestic violence under NASCAR’s personal conduct policy due to his being investigated on allegations that he had assaulted his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll during the Dover race weekend in September 2014. As a result, he was suspended and replaced by Regan Smith in the Daytona 500 and the next two races after that. Even though charges never issued, NASCAR head Brian France announced that he would remain suspended until he completed NASCAR’s reinstatement program.
On March 11, 2015, the indefinite suspension was lifted by NASCAR after Busch completed all requirements of their reinstatement program. Kurt went on to make the Chase and win 2 races that season.
In the summer of 2017, Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing were visibly struggling to re-sign Busch as it was announced that SHR had not “picked up the option” to re-sign Kurt. Despite this, Busch and SHR signed a one-year deal for him to continue driving their No. 41 Ford in 2018. Busch started the 2018 season with the pole at Texas. He repeated this at Michigan and New Hampshire. Busch would get his only win of the season in the night race at Bristol, snapping a 58-race winless streak and locking him in the 2018 Playoffs. His consistency had advanced him as far as the Round of 8 of the Playoffs before he was eliminated at Phoenix due to a late crash with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott. Busch finished the season seventh in the points standings. On December 2, 2018, Busch announced that he will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2019.
On December 4, 2018, it was confirmed that Busch and sponsor Monster Energy will move to the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the 2019 season. As he signed a one-year deal with the team, it was believed that this would have been his final full-time season in NASCAR competition.
At the Pennzoil 400, Busch’s No. 1 car had sponsorship from Star Nursery, and the car’s livery was based on Busch’s first NASCAR victory in the AutoZone Elite Division. Busch scored his first win with CGR at Kentucky, beating his brother Kyle on the final restart. It was the third time the Busch brothers finished 1–2, but the first time Kurt emerged the victor. Despite making the playoffs, Busch was eliminated in the Round of 16 after finishing 20th at the Charlotte Roval. On November 2, 2019, CGR officially announced that Busch has signed on with the No. 1 team for at least two more years.
Penske Racing and Busch later mutually agreed to part ways, although many in the sport believe he was fired. Kurt Busch would later say in a 2019 podcast interview with Michael Waltrip that the situation began with his battle with Clint Bowyer to finish in the top-ten in the standings (Busch would finish 11th in points). On lap 3, when Busch’s transmission failed, a sharp piece of engine equipment shot into the car’s dashboard, almost injuring Busch. Busch’s dismissal was mostly because he felt frustrated that the No. 22 team was unable to compete for championships, and he and team owner Roger Penske couldn’t agree on whether the problem was the car or the driver. However, Busch also said in the podcast that he is still friends with Penske.
Currently, Kurt Busch is 44 years, 4 months and 3 days old. Kurt Busch will celebrate 45th birthday on a Friday 4th of August 2023.
Find out about Kurt Busch birthday activities in timeline view here.