As Cup season awakens, so does Kyle Busch

Daytona 500 – Kyle Busch begins Cup title defense

Kyle Busch

Many people would be hard-pressed to wake up and almost immediately be able to drive a car effectively, let alone at high speeds. But Kyle Busch isn’t most people.

At last month’s Rolex 24, the defending NASCAR Cup champ was awakened from a deep sleep to do two bleary-eyed hours behind the wheel of his No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3, eventually driving it to a 26th place finish (ninth in class) on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

Not exactly up to his Cup standards, but the 34-year-old Las Vegas native seemed satisfied. “We had a lot of fun,” he told reporters.

Now, he turns his attention to the impending NASCAR Cup season. He won his second Cup title in 2019, though the run didn’t come without some angst. He struggled at times with a lower-horsepower, higher-downforce package that left him frustrated, and at one point he endured a 21-race winless streak. On the personal side, he also went through fertility problems with his wife, Samantha.

But his on-track woes seemed to vanish at last year’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he took control with 97 laps to go and never looked back to ring up his fifth win of the season and take his second series championship.

He’ll begin his quest for title No. 3 when he and 39 other drivers rev up for the 2020 season-opening Daytona 500, which airs live from the iconic 2.5-mile Florida tri-oval Sunday, Feb. 16, on Fox.

Full Name: Kyle Thomas Busch

Born: May 2, 1985

Birthplace: Las Vegas

Height/Weight: 6 feet 1 inch/185 pounds

Car: Toyota Camry

No.: 18

Owner: Joe Gibbs Racing

Honors and Achievements: All-Star Race Winner (2017); Cup Series champion, (2015, 2019); Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series champion (2009); Cup Series Rookie of the Year (2005)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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