Many have aspirations of being a racecar driver and competing at the sport's highest level, but only a select few have the almost unexplainable ability – a sixth sense of sorts – to climb behind the wheel, compete among the best, and win.
Kurt Busch's racing career began in his hometown of Las Vegas. The second-generation driver got his start the way most youngsters do – tagging along with his father, Tom, to race tracks dotted among the Mountain and Pacific time zones. After graduating from Durango High School, Busch set his sights on being a pharmacist and enrolled at the University of Arizona. But he couldn't get the racing bug out of his system.
By 1998, Busch was running full-time on the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour. He earned rookie of the year honors that season with one victory and promptly won the series championship in 1999 with six victories. Barely a year removed from running on the Featherlite Southwest Tour, Busch was racing the No. 97 car in NASCAR's elite division – the Winston Cup Series -- for team owner Jack Roush. Busch took over for Chad Little in the final seven races of the 2000 season as he prepared for his full Sprint Cup season in 2001.
At just 22, Busch entered the 2001 Sprint Cup season as a rookie competing with the best drivers in the world. The next year was a break out year for Busch. He started the season by finishing fourth in the Daytona 500. Less than two months later, he scored his first Sprint Cup win March 24 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Busch earned three more wins, all in the final five races of the season, en route to a third-place finish in the championship point standings.
In 2004, NASCAR introduced the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, where after the season's first 26 races, the top-10 drivers in points competed in a 10-race dash to the championship. Busch put his first step toward his title run in March with a third consecutive trip to Bristol's victory lane. He followed it up with another win in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. When the series returned to New Hampshire in September for the first race of the Chase, Busch won again to stake his claim to the championship, edging Jimmie Johnson by eight points.
Busch went on to race for team owner Roger Penske from 2006-11 and Furniture Row Racing in 2012-13. During this time, Busch added to his racing legacy by leading Furniture Row Racing to a berth in the coveted Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In 2014, Busch joined Stewart-Haas Racing with aspirations to win another Sprint Cup Championship.
Throughout his illustrious career, Busch is a 29-time race victor in NASCAR's elite division and ranks 26th on the series' all-time win list.
Busch claimed the 59th running of the Daytona 500 in 2017.
Born: August 04, 1978
Claim to Fame: Busch won the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship and ranks 26th on the series' all-time win list. He won the 2017 Daytona 500.