Kurt Busch: Rising Star or Black Hole

By: Cassaundra Flores

Kurt Busch has been one NASCAR driver who has been in the news for one reason or the other ever since his entry on the NASCAR circuits. This highly talented driver, who has been driving in both the Busch Series (#12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge) and the Nextel Cup Series(#2 Miller Lite Dodge), has been a Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year , an IROC champion and a NEXTEL Cup Champion to boot. Kurt Busch started his career with NASCAR in 1998 competing with many other racing stars of today, notably Ron Hornaday, Matt Crafton and Kevin Harvick when he participated in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series at Tucson Raceway Park.

The big break in Busch's career resulted because of the untimely shooting of Chris Trickle. After Trickle was severely injured in the shooting, Star Nursery hired Busch to replace him in the AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series championship, which he luckily went on to win in 1999. His win here further led to his try out for the Roush Racing "Gong Show", which cleared the way for his entry to the Craftsman Truck Series which he also won.

Busch first brush with major controversy started around this time, when he was chosen by Jack Roush to participate in the Winston Cup Series. The hullabaloo over Roush's choice overlooking a more experienced Greg Biffle, especially since Busch had no experience at the Busch Grand National Series ensured that his name was heard by one and all. Another one of the major controversies that Busch has been mired in has been his relationship with fellow driver Jimmy Spencer, which has been in the news ever since they bumped their cars during a race at the Michigan International Speedway. Spencer's manhandling of Busch afterwards further led to his image being badly tarnished.

On top of this, Spencer has not been the only one on Busch's hate list, what with his having had altercations with Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick. His reckless driving spells and run-ins with the police have further harmed both his reputation and his standing with fans. On numerous occasions during Busch's misbehavior, the team management also had to take action against Busch by suspending and penalizing him.

Kurt Busch has been working hard to shut his detractors up, and a major milestone in this quest came when he managed to join the elite club of racing car drivers to have won all three of NASCAR's top championships, namely the Craftsman Truck Series, the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup.

In order to win his fans back, he has also
increased his appearances at charities and has been contributing to a number of good causes of late. His self destructive streak also has been in hiding for some time, and let's hope that it stays that way so that Kurt Busch can actually realize the potential and talent that he has been born with.

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