Here’s How Kyle Busch Roadblocked the Career of This 17-Year-Old Generational Talent From Entering NASCAR


Blasting through the qualifying, setting up a record pace in COTA in his Truck Series debut was a 17-year-old phenom from North Carolina who reminded Brett Griffin of young Kyle Busch. The 2-time Cup Series champion in his early days stormed the gates of NASCAR and took over the sport just like that, trouncing champions, and blowing the competition out of the water.
Welcoming Trackhouse Racing’s new development driver, the DBC crew including Brett Griffin and Freddie Kraft spoke about the ‘Rowdy’s’ impact on the sport and how he has changed it for the worse, especially for young aspiring drivers.
Brett Griffin reflects on the champion’s negative impact on the sport
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Racing in NASCAR might as well be a dream for many, especially for young aspiring drivers. However, getting a seat or a ride is not an easy task and if you manage to get one, there are several other obligations one would come across to climb higher up the NASCAR ladder. Age is one factor that has kept most youngsters at bay from venturing into the Xfinity or Cup side of things, limiting their reach to the Truck Series.
17-year-old phenom, Connor Zilisch, is a perfect example of this. Though the driver is just in his teenage years, Zilisch is not your average brash, cocky hot-headed teenager, trying to impress everybody. He is more of a mature, calm driver who has a vision.
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His Truck Series debut in COTA showed the fandom what the Charlotte native was capable of – qualifying for XPEL 225 as the fastest, securing the pole by nearly three-quarters of a second, and finishing his debut race fourth just above Ross Chastain.
Following his breakout performance, the youngster was seen in the DBC studio alongside the crew where Brett Griffin revealed how Busch‘s influence capped the youngster from venturing to other divisions or making it a full-time responsibility. He said, “I’m mad at Kyle Busch right now because he is the reason that Conor can’t race in NASCAR, Kyle Busch came in they were like, whoa whoa whoa, we got to slow this phenom down and Kyle Busch is, and was a phenom and they were like, we got to make a rule, how you got to be to run races.”
For youngsters like Zilisch to compete full-time in NASCAR’s top three divisions, they need to be 18- a stipulation that was put into place after 16-year-old Kyle Busch exploded onto the Truck Series scene way back in 2001.
Zilisch has high praise for his Trackhouse Racing teammate, Ross Chastain, for helping him out
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The young gun’s debut run caught NASCAR aficionados’ eyes, including that of 2021 Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, who was genuinely blown away by the driver’s skill. Following Saturday’s race, Zilisch spoke to the media and thanked his Trackhouse Racing teammate Ross Chastain for helping secure the historic finish.
He said, “He let me by on that last restart and kind of made it easy on me to get by. He’s a really good guy and he’s helped me a lot getting to this point. I’m sure he’ll continue to be a good teammate for me, but you know it’s really cool to have him on my side. Have him support me.”
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According to his agreement to be a development driver for Justin Marks’ team, Zilisch got the opportunity to drive select races across multiple racing series, which he started on Saturday in a Spire Motorsports truck. Despite facing multiple hurdles throughout the race, he persisted continually to finish inside the top 5. Zilisch further revealed that Chastain had spoken to him after the race and asked him to keep his head up.


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