Like most racing families, the Busch brothers grew up living and breathing the racing lifestyle. With the guidance of their father Tom, a winner of several NASCAR sanctioned events, Kurt and Kyle spent a majority of their time in the family garage being taught how to repair and build race cars.
Both brothers got their first driving lessons at the age of six, driving a go-kart in the cul-de-sac of their Las Vegas neighborhood. At one point early on in their careers, Kyle at the age of ten, served as a crew chief for brother Kurt and his dwarf car team.
Although growing up in the same house and cutting their teeth on the same local race track, the Busch brothers as we know them today, are very separate and different people.
Kurt, seven years older than his brother Kyle, had his first racing experience at Pahrump Valley Speedway in a dwarf car. After winning the Auto Zone Elite Division Southwest rookie of the year honors in 1998, he went on to win the series championship the very next year. The championship led to Kurt’s tryout for Roush Racing’s Gong Show, which he won and earned a spot in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride.
In the No. 99 Exide Batteries truck, Kurt won four races and finished second in the points to teammate Greg Biffle. Kurt made his debut in the now Sprint Cup Series in 2000, after taking over for Chad Little in Dover.
He started off his rookie season in 2001 at Daytona, where after making contact with Dale Earnhardt, he was given the one-finger salute by the intimidator just hours before the tragic events on the last lap of the race that took Earnhardt’s life.
The rest is history for the quiet Kurt, who has gone on to win 22 times in the Cup series and capture the 2004 championship- the first year of the Chase format.
The younger Kyle began his driving career in 1998, just after his 13th birthday, and from then until 2001, earned 65 wins in legends cars and two track championships at the legendary Las Vegas Bullring.
Kyle competed in the Craftsman Truck Series in 1996 at the age of 16, but after events at Auto Club Speedway during a companion event for CART and their world championship, he was ejected from the track by CART officials who didn’t allow drivers under the age of 18 to compete. Kyle in fact, was the reason NASCAR mandated that all drivers be over the age of 18, which went in to effect just weeks after the events at California.
After graduating early with honors from Durango High School to focus on his racing career, Kyle signed a driver development contract with Hendrick Motorsports in 2003—driving in seven ARCA races in their No. 87 Ditech entry and winning his first two races at Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Speedway.
During the following two years, Kyle competed in the Nationwide Series and won five times, claiming the series record for most wins by a rookie, and finishing second in points behind Martin Truex Jr.
The 2005 season marked Kyle’s move to the Sprint Cup Series and his first opportunity to race again his older brother, where he replaced NASCAR legend Terry Labonte in the #5 car and won two times on the way to capturing Rookie of the Year honors. Since then, the fiery and sometimes controversial driver has captured 19 wins and set new records along the way.
After taking different avenues to get to where they are today, the two very different Busch brothers have found themselves in the midst of competing for the very same title in 2010. Due to their age difference, Kurt and Kyle had never competed in the same series until 2005, where both began driving against each other in the Sprint Cup Series.
With a seemingly wide-open Chase this season, this may arguably the first time that both brothers have an equal chance to capture the season ending championship, but don’t expect the brothers to necessarily play nice when the heat of the title chase is at it’s hottest.
Rewind back to 2007, where Kurt and Kyle were amidst a battle between each other during the All-Star Race, where Kurt didn’t give his brother any room—which sent both drivers into the wall and their cars being towed away by a wrecker. After the incident, the brothers didn’t talk for nearly seven months, and it wasn’t until a Christmas wish from their Grandmother for them to get along, did the two finally settle their differences.
With six races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and competitors finding themselves out of contention for the title after each race, it will be interesting to see if the two brothers play nice around each other, or if there may be another tense Christmas dinner for the Busch family.
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