A significant milestone is in the making for Kyle Busch, a 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contender and driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry. By the time Busch completes his two scheduled starts this weekend at Richmond Raceway between the NASCAR Xfinity and Cup Series, he will surpass Michael Waltrip and move into fifth place on NASCAR’s all-time combined national series starts with 1,174 starts between the Truck, Xfinity and Cup Series.
A native from Las Vegas, Nevada, Kyle Busch made his first appearance within NASCAR’s three major division series in 2001 in the Truck Series, where he drove the No. 99 Ford for car owner Jack Roush at age 16. His first start was at Indianapolis Raceway Park in August, where he started 23rd and finished ninth place. He competed in five additional Truck races with Roush and was set to compete at Fontana’s California Speedway in November when he was prohibited from competing since he was under 18 years of age in racing in events sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes. Shortly after, NASCAR imposed a rule where developing competitors were not allowed to compete within the sport until reaching the minimum age of 18, which began in 2002.
By 2003, Busch was a development driver for Hendrick Motorsports and competing in the ARCA Series, where he won his first two career races. In May, after turning 18 years of age, Busch made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Charlotte’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway while driving the No. 87 ditech.com Chevrolet under an alliance between Hendrick Motorsports and NEMCO Motorsports. In his first run in the series, Busch posted an impressive second-place result behind Matt Kenseth and received congrats from his older brother and current NASCAR star, Kurt. He competed in six additional starts in the Xfinity Series, where he posted another second-place result at Darlington Raceway in August and a seventh-place result at Rockingham’s North Carolina Speedway in November.
The 2004 NASCAR season was an eventful season for Busch, who competed the entire 34 Xfinity Series schedule with Hendrick Motorsports as a rookie candidate, made a one-race return in the Truck Series with team owner Rob Morgan and made his first six Cup career starts with HMS. In the Xfinity circuit, where he drove the No. 5 Lowe’s Chevrolet led by veteran Lance McGrew, Busch achieved five victories, five poles, 16 top-five results and 22 top-10 results before he concluded the season as the Rookie-of-the-Year winner and in second place behind Martin Truex Jr. In the Cup circuit, where he drove the No. 84 Carquest Chevrolet led by crew chief Gary DeHart, Busch’s best result was 24th place at California Speedway in September. In his one-race Truck start at Indianapolis Raceway Park in August, Busch finished 11th.
Busch’s career would skyrocket the following season as he was named a full-time NASCAR Cup Series competitor for Hendrick Motorsports, piloting the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet as a rookie candidate led by crew chief Alan Gustafson. During the season, he achieved his first two Cup career victories, one pole, seven top-five results and nine top-10 results before he was named the Rookie-of-the-Year recipient. He also won one race in 14 Xfinity Series starts and he claimed his first three Truck career victories in 11 starts throughout the season.
Through September 2020, Busch has made 155 career starts in the NASCAR Truck Series. He is the all-time Truck wins leader with 59 career victories, which he achieved while driving for Billy Ballew Motorsports and Kyle Busch Motorsports, and he is a seven-time Truck owner’s champion with KBM. He has also achieved 22 poles, 102 top-five results, 123 top-10 results and over 7,000 laps led in 18 years in the series. His current average result in the series is 6.8.
In addition, he has made 356 starts in the Xfinity Series and is also the all-time Xfinity wins leader with 97 career victories, which he achieved while driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Braun Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. He is the 2009 Xfinity Series champion and holds the record for the most victories in a single Xfinity season (13 in 2010). He has achieved 10 or more victories in four Xfinity seasons. He has also achieved 68 poles, 219 top-five results, 257 top-10 results and over 19,000 laps led in 18 years in the series. His current average result in the series is 9.1.
Finally, he has made 561 starts in the Cup Series and has achieved 56 career victories, all while driving for HMS and JGR. He is the reigning two-time Cup Series champion and a two-time Cup regular-season champion who has achieved major victories like the 2018 Coca-Cola 600, the 2017 NASCAR All-Star Race, two Brickyard 400s, the 2012 Clash at Daytona International Speedway and the 2008 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. He has also achieved 32 poles, 211 top-five results, 310 top-10 results and over 17,000 laps led in 18 years in the series. His current average result in the series is 13.7.
To this day, Busch is the lone competitor to achieve a win across NASCAR’s three major division series in one weekend and to achieve a victory at every active NASCAR Cup Series track on the schedule.
This season, Busch has completed the first 27 Cup races and has also made four starts in the Xfinity Series and five starts in the Truck Series. He has achieved three Truck wins and one Xfinity win, but he is winless in the Cup circuit despite recording one stage win, 11 top-five results and 14 top-10 results. He is coming off a seventh-place result in the first Cup Playoff race of this season at Darlington Raceway and is in 10th place in the Playoff standings, seven points above the top-12 cutline to advance to the second round of the Playoffs.
In addition to competing in the Cup Series on a full-time basis with Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch is also scheduled to make his fifth and final Xfinity Series start this season with JGR in the first of a series doubleheader feature at Richmond Raceway.
Prior to this season, Kyle Busch made 1,136 across NASCAR’s three major division series. Once he surpasses Michael Waltrip this weekend at Richmond, Busch will trail Joe Nemechek (1195), Richard Petty (1185), Kevin Harvick (1178) and Mark Martin (1143) for the most starts between NASCAR’s three major division series (Truck, Xfinity and Cup).
Catch Kyle Busch’s milestone start at Richmond Raceway on Friday, September 11, at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, where he will extend his streak of starts between NASCAR’s three major division series the following day for the Cup Series Playoff race on Saturday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.