The absurd reason behind NASCAR sending a 16-year-old Kyle Busch back home before his Fontana truck race debut

Kyle Busch ranks in the top 2 of the all-time winner’s list of all three national series.


The absurd reason behind NASCAR sending a 16-year-old Kyle Busch back home before his Fontana truck race debut

Kyle Busch (Credits: @rcr/ Twitter)

Kyle Busch has come a long way in the sport, from a skinny boy with an aggressive driving style to a future NASCAR Hall of Famer. The Two times Cup series champion is the winningest driver in the sport’s history. He won 224 combined race wins from all three national series; he had already surpassed legend Richard Petty, who has  200 Cup race wins. No other active diver threatens Busch’s position in the all-time ranking.

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Busch made his NASCAR debut in 2001 in the Truck Series, driving for Roush Racing at Indianapolis Raceway Park and scoring a P9 finish. He went on to start five more races and was scheduled to make a 7th start at Fontana. But Busch was denied the opportunity since he was just 16 years old and was not eligible to compete due to the event’s sponsors.

Busch was denied the racing opportunity because the Truck series shared a schedule with CART Open Wheel Championship the same day. Cigarette producers Marlboro sponsored the event. According to government regulations, athletes under 18 were not permitted to partake in events organized by firms associated with Tobacco companies.

NASCAR later banned drivers under 18 from running in Truck Series, and Busch was forced to drive in the American Speed Association championship. The ban was later revoked. NASCAR sponsorship deals with Tobacco producers were nothing new in the modern version of NASCAR.

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The association with R.J. Reynolds in 1971 drastically impacted the sport’s growth, and the very next season, the modern-day Cup series, was born.  The partnership lasted till 2003, when further Government regulations on sponsorship were introduced.

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Kyle Busch is one of the most dominant racers of all time at Auto Club Speedway

Kyle Busch and Richard Childress (Credits: TheChecheredflag)
Kyle Busch and Richard Childress (Credits: TheChecheredflag)

Busch’s maiden Cup series pole and Cup race win came at Fontana. He has four Cup race wins, and 11 Top 10 finishes from 23 starts. Only Jimmie Johnson has more Cup race wins at Fontana than Busch. He has the best average finish at Fontana among the active cup drivers.   

The RCR driver has won 6 Xfinity series races at ACS and holds the record for all-time wins. He has also won two Truck Series races at the track and ranks second among all-time winners. The last truck series race hosted by the track was in 2009, and Busch won it.

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