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Top 5 Moments of Kurt Busch’s Career

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Kurt Busch announced his retirement at Daytona last weekend, and that marked the end of a Hall-of-Fame caliber career. It is hard to boil down his whole career to five great moments, but we will do our best here. Here are the best moments of Kurt Busch’s career.

5. 2020 South Point 400: Busch Conquers his Home Track

Busch had accomplished many of the things that a driver in this sport could accomplish, except winning at his hometown track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As a matter of fact, he had struggled at the track with only five top-10 finishes in 21 starts including five DNFs. In 2020, everything came together.

A timely caution put Busch up front next to Matt DiBenedetto, and Busch would outduel DiBenedetto on late restarts. Busch survived an overtime finish, and he won his first-ever race at his home track.

4. 2014 STP 500: First win with Stewart-Haas Racing

After an ugly end to his time at Team Penske in 2011, Busch bounced from Phoenix Racing to Furniture Row Racing to finally getting back into top equipment with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. He had not won since Dover in 2011, and the sixth race of the season was the STP 500 at Martinsville, where Busch had not recorded a top-10 since October of 2005.

After getting into a tussle with former teammate, Brad Keselowski, on pit road, Busch slowly worked his way to the front. He spent the final green flag run battling with one of Martinsville’s masters, Jimmie Johnson. Busch held off Johnson, and that gave Busch his first win in 83 races.

3. 2002 Food City 500: First Career Win

Kurt Busch had a forgettable rookie season in 2001, but he broke out early in his second season. Despite only one top-10 finish, Busch had three top-7 qualifying efforts and led multiple laps in three of the first five races of the 2002 season. At Bristol, Busch battled from a 27th-place starting spot to the back bumper of race-leader Jimmy Spencer.

Busch showed some muscle as he moved Spencer out of the way for the lead and eventually the win. The move set off Busch’s first rivalry with Spencer, and it also went a long way towards Busch getting his nickname “The Outlaw”. He would go on to win four races and finish third in points in his sophomore season.

2. 2017 Daytona 500: Daytona 500 Champion

For years, Kurt Busch was oh so close, yet oh so far from winning NASCAR’s most prestigious race. He led the most laps in the 2007 Daytona 500 before crashing out with Tony Stewart in the closing laps. Busch had also finished second in the race three times (2003, 2005, and 2008).

In 2017, everything finally came together. The race came down to fuel mileage as the lead pack rode single-file in the final laps trying to save whatever fuel they could. Busch was fourth in line as leader Chase Elliott ran out with three laps to go, and Busch and Larson went on to pass new leader Martin Truex Jr. with two laps to go. Larson then ran out of fuel on the last lap, and Busch had saved just enough fuel to finally win that elusive Daytona 500.

1. 2004 Ford 400: Cup Series Champion

2004 was the inaugural season of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, then known as the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Busch took a slim, 18-point lead heading into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He overcame an issue with a loose wheel early in the race to be in fifth place on the final restart.

As teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon desperately tried to get themselves into the lead, Busch maintained fifth. He would win the Championship by only eight points, which was, at the time, the closest margin of victory in NASCAR history. The crowning achievement of a Hall of Fame Career.

Kurt Busch will be enshrined in Charlotte one day, and it is because of moments like this. His career was controversial at times, but, no one could ever deny his talent behind the wheel.

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