Kyle Busch - Early Career

Early Career

At the age of 16, Busch began competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (now Camping World Truck Series) for Roush Racing as a replacement for Nathan Haseleu and Chuck Hossfeld, who were released midway in the 2001 season. He made his debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park, impressing many people with a 9th place finish. In his second race at Chicago Motor Speedway, he was leading with less than 20 laps to go until his truck ran out of fuel with 12 laps to go.

Busch was the fastest in practice for a 2001 Craftsman Truck Series race at California Speedway in Fontana, CA, when he was ejected from the track by CART officials because the American Racing Wheels 200 was part of a CART weekend featuring the Marlboro 500 CART FedEx Championship Series event. Marlboro threw Busch out of the garage because of an interpretation of the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998, prohibiting people under 18 years of age in participating in events sponsored by tobacco companies. He earned two top-10 finishes in six starts in the #99 Eldon Ford F-150 in what had been scheduled to be a full-season campaign for 2002.

Six weeks after the incident, NASCAR imposed a minimum age of 18 years starting in 2002 to prevent future incidents from happening again, because Winston was the premier series sponsor at the time. When the age requirements were put in place, Busch switched from NASCAR to the American Speed Association (ASA) series, finishing 8th in points.

In 2002, Busch graduated a year early with honors from Durango High School in Las Vegas, Nevada to focus on his driving career. That same year, he made his debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Lowe's Motor Speedway, finishing twelfth in the #22 WP Motorsports Chevrolet.

In 2003, Busch signed a driver development contract with Hendrick Motorsports, and drove seven ARCA races in their #87 ditech entry. He won his first two races at Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Speedway, and won his most recent ARCA race the following year at Daytona.

He is often nicknamed "Shrub", since he is the younger brother of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch and a small bush is called a shrub.

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