DOVER, Del. (September 12, 2000)>NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Kurt Busch is the latest Roush Racing development driver to find success in one of NASCAR's premier series. The rookie phenomenon has dazzled the Craftsman Truck Series in 2000 and...
DOVER, Del. (September 12, 2000)>NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Kurt Busch is the latest Roush Racing development driver to find success in one of NASCAR's premier series. The rookie phenomenon has dazzled the Craftsman Truck Series in 2000 and has experienced success similar to the likes of teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth, two of Roush's other driver development pupils. As a result of his on-track ability and poise in the driver's seat, Busch, who is currently driving the No. 99 entry in the Truck Series, is a top candidate for the No. 97 Winston Cup entry for 2001. Over the course of the next two days, Busch will be testing one of Roush's Winston Cup machines at Dover Downs International Speedway as a finalist for next year's opening.
This is nothing new to Busch, who went through the same type of test last year as a finalist in the first ever "Roush Racing Gong Show." Busch was one of 10 candidates selected to test a Roush-prepared F-150 around the ovals at Toledo Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. The candidates were judged not only on lap times but also their ability to suggest and react to changes in the truck. Busch's prowess behind the wheel was so impressive to Max Jones, general manager of Roush Racing's truck operations, that Busch was offered the chance to run a full season alongside championship contender Greg Biffle.
Busch got off to a quick start in 2000, showing flashes of brilliance in the opening race of the season at Daytona International Speedway as he finished second in his first race behind the wheel of a 700-horsepower truck. Since then Busch has gone on to win two races (The Milwaukee Mile, New Hampshire International Speedway) and capture two poles, with his latest coming last week at Richmond International Raceway in the Kroger 200. Busch has gone on to record 10 top-five finishes in 21 races and leads the Rookie of the Year standings by 122 points over his nearest competitor.
Rookie of the Year honors will bring a welcomed trophy in the display case, but more impressive is the fact that Busch is currently third in the point standings and is 80 points within striking distance of second place with three races remaining in the 2000 season. Those types of statistics and performances haven't gone unnoticed as the results have caught the eye of team owner Jack Roush and earned Busch a shot a taking the wheel of the No. 97 Ford for the 2001 season. Undoubtedly, Busch would be a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors next season, hoping to follow teammate Matt Kenseth, who currently leads the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year standings with nine races remaining.
Roush Racing is the largest motorsports team in the world with nine teams in NASCAR's three major series: Mark Martin, Jeff Burton (based in Mooresville, N.C.), Kevin Lepage, Chad Little and Matt Kenseth (Concord, N.C.) in the Winston Cup Series; Martin and Burton in the Busch Series; and Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch (Livonia, Mich.) in the Craftsman Truck Series.