NASCAR has changed the rule regarding teenagers in racing. The existing age limitation already in place for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will now be mandated for three other series under NASCAR sanction.
All drivers, crew and other participants in Busch Grand National Series, Craftsman Truck Series, and the Touring Series must be 18 or older. The new rule will be effective for the 2002 season.
"After careful consideration and deliberation and a thorough audit of our rules and regulations, we concluded it was in the best interests of safety, competition and professional development that we institute these new age requirements," said NASCAR president Mike Helton.
"Younger competitors need as much experience as they can accumulate before competing at NASCAR's professional levels" Helton continued. "They need to hone professional driving skills, knowledge and judgment that is best learned at the local level, as with NASCAR's Weekly Racing Series. After the age of 18 and with this experience, younger competitor should be better prepared for regional or national competition."
One of the driver's immediately affected by this rule change is recently-signed Kyle Busch. Busch is the younger brother of current WCS driver Kurt. Busch signed with Roush Racing in the Craftsman Truck series.
Busch was one of four drivers of the No. 99 Roush Racing truck. His first ride was at Indianapolis Raceway Park where he finished ninth.
Busch ran five more races with the team and pulled-out another top-ten finish at Las Vegas. Busch's final race of the season for the team would have been at California Speedway (season finale); however, he was not allowed to drive due to his age and potential conflices with the tobacco industry's agreement to refrain from promoting products to minors.
Official NASCAR release.