Born in the city of Las Vegas on 2 May 1985, Kyle Thomas Busch was destined to become a household name in the NASCAR industry, following in the footsteps of his brother Kurt. With supportive parents, Kyle was given the opportunity to explore his passion for driving from the early age of thirteen. Now, aged 23, Kyle Busch took his NASCAR career to a new high, by winning on his home turf in Las Vegas on Sunday.
In his first Cup racing event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch has to settle for a very disappointing 41st place finish. But on Sunday, he was ready to change past failures into tough, action packed and breathtaking victory. Before the race Kyle Busch, also referred to as the “Wild Thing”, prepared his fans for the race. He told the crowd that he would fall to the back and fight his way to first position, and he did not let his fans down.
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway was packed with spectators as Kyle Busch pulled into pole position with his brother behind him, waiting for the race to begin. It was not an easy 285 lap race, as Busch began to fight his way through the pack, forced to drop back due to changes made to his engine. The excitement built as Busch took the lead and lost it again with 57 laps remaining. Between late pit stops, caution laps and restarts, Busch clawed his way into the lead and held off the rest of the field by widening his gap between them. Passing the checkered flag was one of the proudest moments in his racing career. Not being able to contain his joy he commented to the press: “I didn’t know exactly what it would mean, but coming to the checkered flag, there were knots in my stomach. It’s bigger than winning the Daytona 500. I said it wasn’t going to be, but it is.”
Being able to overcome difficulties, realize dreams and achieve goals at such a young age, makes Kyle Busch a deserving winner and a phenomenal driver. No doubt that his racing career will only grow stronger in the future and that he will return to Las Vegas to try and recapture Sunday’s glory.
Lee Petty, father of the well-known race driver and NASCAR’s all-time race winner, Richard Petty, was born on March the 14th, 1914 near Randleman, North Carolina. Lee was one of the founders of NASCAR and was also one of NASCAR’s first American stock car superstars in the 1950s and 1960s. Stock car racing is found mainly in Great Britain and the United States and takes place on large oval rings and sometimes on road courses. A stock car differs from a race car in that its an automobile that has come off the production floor and has been used for racing rather then being custom-built for racing purposes only.
It was only at the age of thirty-five years that Petty began racing. His NASCAR career began at NASCAR’S official first race on June 19, 1949, at Charlotte Speedway, a three-quarter mile long dirt track. Lee Petty finished in the Top 5 in season points for all of NASCAR’s first eleven seasons. Lee, on three occasions, won the NASCAR Championships and the initial Daytona 500 in 1959. The Daytona 500 is 805 km NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and requires the driver to complete 200-laps. This race was held every year at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida on Daytona Beach.
At the inaugural Daytona 500, Petty and Johnny Beauchamp fought every round near the final laps of the race. The finish was inconclusive because both drivers had finished so close to one another. Unofficially Johnny Beauchamp was declared the winner until further notice, it took a total of three days to make the final decision on who had won. With the assistance of the national newsreel a decision could be made and it was found that Petty was the official winner. From that day Lee Petty had cemented his place as one of the all time greats in stock-car racing.
Lee Petty founded Petty Enterprises, and along with both his sons Richard and Maurice, it became NASCAR’s most victorious racing team. He is the grandfather of Kyle Eugene Petty who is an American NASCAR driver and great grandfather of Adam Petty who started a promising career in racing but tragically died in 2000 at the age of 19 years.
Born on 30 April 1963, Michael Curtis Waltrip showed enthusiasm for racing from a young age. His older brother Darrel Waltrip became a three-time NASCAR champion and it didn’t take long for Michael to start following in his big brother’s footsteps. He got involved in kart racing in his teens and switched to stockcars by the time he was eighteen years of age. In 1981, he won a division of the track championship at the Kentucky Speedway. In 1983 he won the Goody’s Dash Series and he also took the prize for Goody’s most popular driver in 1983 and 1984. These early successes were certainly indicative of greater things to come.
In 1985 the Kentucky-born racer made his Cup debut at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. Though his success at the race was minimal, it was the just the start of his climb to cup success. In 1988, he won at Dover in his fourth start at the Busch Series. At the time he was racing for his brother’s team and his win made quite an impact. Unfortunately, it took quite some time before Waltrip actually enjoyed a Cup race victory. Eventually, at his 464th race he took the chequered flag at the 2001 Daytona 500. He also came in second at the Pepsi 400 that same season. He won the Daytona 500 again in 2003 and his last win was the EA Sports 500 in Talladega in 2003.
During the course of his career, Michael Waltrip has driven his #55 car with great skill. He is known, amongst other things, for his loyalty and skill in the driver’s seat. Today he spends much of his time with his family in North Caronlina where he is an ardent supporter of the Dallas Cowboys. He is still involved with a number of different aspects of racing and he also enjoys participating in numerous marathons. Both he and his brother are often called on to appear in advertisements and he currently serves on the SPEED Channel’s NASCAR Inside Nextel Cup panel of experts. Waltrip has enjoyed four wins, 122 top tens and three pole positions. He continues to be involved in racing and will likely continue to enjoy a long and successful racing-related career.
Ward Burton was born on October 25, 1961, later becoming a famous American NASCAR driver. After High School Burton joined and graduated from Hargrave Military Academy and then attended Elon College for just under 3 years. Ward is NASCAR driver Jeff Burton’s older brother. In the early years Ward and Jeff were strong competitors at South Boston Speedway, their hometown track.
During the 1990 season Ward started off his NASCAR Busch Series career and competed for a full four seasons. His first season ended with 23 starts and three finishes in the Top-10, with an overall completion of the season in 21st place. Over the next three years his results improved, with his second season made up of 29 starts, two Top-5 finishes and 10 top-10 finishes, completing the overall season in 18th place.
Ward’s second to last season in 1992 was the year he had his first win at Rockingham, on February 29 in a car owned by Alan Dillard. That year he finished the season with one win, three Top-5 finishes and 10 Top-10 finishes, with an 8th place placement. His final season in 1993 was his most successful year with a total of three wins, nine Top-5, ten Top-10 finishes with an end result of 6th place in the final points standings. From there Ward moved up to Winston Cup, taking part in 26 out of the 31 races in a #31 Hardee’s Chevy.
His accomplishments grew when he moved to #22 Bill Davis Racing MBNA Pontiac where he completed 21 races. The years to follow showed a progressive advancement from 33rd spot to 16 in the final points standings. The year 1999 saw Ward Burton’s career peak, as he finished ninth in the final points standings.
In 2000 he won at Darlington Speedway and was 10th in the points. He won the Mountain Dew Southern 500, finishing 10th in 2001. In 2002 he had a bit of a dip but still managed to win the prestigious Daytona 500 and the New England 300 at Loudon, New Hampshire. In 2003 he had even poorer finishes, putting him in 21st place. The following year Ward Burton was released from the team and since then has not raced in NASCAR.
This team stopped racing at the conclusion of the 2008 season.
Bill Davis Racing (BDR) fields the number 22 Caterpillar Inc. Toyota Camry for driver Dave Blaney, the number 5 Toyota Tundra for Mike Skinner, the #36 Toyota Camry for Jeremy Mayfield, the #22 Toyota for Bill Lester and last of all the #23 Toyota for Johnny Benson. The Bill Davis team is a NASCAR team that is based currently in High Point, North Carolina.
Truck rental owner Bill Davis, a former motorcross racer, founded the Bill Davis Racing team. When the team was moved to Carolina, the Ford Motor Company asked Davis to hire the up-and-coming Jeff Gordon from the Midwest. Gordon took the NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 1991 as well as having won 11 pole positions a year later. Another team took Gordon but this did not deter Davis from moving to the Cup series in 1993 full time.
At first Davis took on rookie and Busch Series driver Randy LaJoie to drive their car. LaJoie did not last long and was soon fired halfway through the year. He had to be replaced by a series of rotating drivers to keep the car and the team in the game. Later, Ward Burton was hired to finish the rest of the season, impressing the Bill Davis Racing team when he won at Rockingham Motor Speedway.
The next win only took place again in 2000 when Burton won the spring Darlington race as well as the 2002 Daytona 500. Burton moved to Haas CNC Racing in 2003 after a disappointing season, leaving Davis to use his Busch driver Scott Wimmer. In Wimmer’s first race, during his rookie season, he finished third and continued to race full-time. A year later it was announced that Wimmer would be released from the Bill Davis Team and Dave Blaney would take his place for the following season. Previously Blaney had driven for BDR in #93, this time he would drive #22 at the start of the 2006 season.
Blaney left the BDR team later on when Amoco decided not to renew the team’s contract and instead joined the Jasper Motorsports. The team then hired Hut Stricklin when Hills Brothers took on sponsorship. But Stricklin showed no real potential and was fired in the final quarter of the season. In 2005 Michael Waltrip and his sponsors NAPA took the car over for the 2006 season, going under Michael Waltrip’s own team name to ensure it qualified. Jeremy Mayfield drove the car full-time in 2007.