Mama Speed

Gaye Busch keeps her racing worries in check

By Mike Savicki


Like all caring mothers, Gaye Busch is concerned about the well-being of her children. She worries about them when they are on vacation, driving on the roadways and, especially, when they are at work. Her work-related worries are a bit different than most, however, because her two sons, Kurt and Kyle, both earn their paychecks by driving regularly at speeds in excess of 150 mph. As two of the top drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, speed is a necessary function of success and worry is a by-product of being their mother.


“Worry is a parent thing, and you feel it day and night,” Gaye Busch explains. “You don’t want to see your children hurt, and even though you know the safety of the vehicles, you never know what might happen.”


She adds, “At first it was a scary thing to watch your sons do it, but they grew up at a track where their father did it as a hobby, so they got used to seeing how things were done, and we got used to seeing them. When they turned professional and started racing at places like Talladega and Daytona, two of the tracks I don’t care for, the scariness returned.”


While racing was a family thing, neither Gaye nor Tom steered them into their careers. “They both came to us and said it was something they wanted to try. My husband said ‘fine’, and that’s when they started building cars. They knew every nut and bolt that went into building a car, and I think that has helped them stay safe and get to where they are today.”


After years of following her sons to every track in the country, Gaye Busch now picks and chooses the races she attends. Her favorite tracks are the road courses. “I really like Sonoma and Watkins Glen, but Vegas, as our home track, is a favorite, too,” she offers.


As for any sort of sibling rivalry, Gaye Bush says her sons, Kurt, 32, and Kyle, 25, are as competitive with each other as they are with the other drivers, but that’s where it ends. “They both care about each other and congratulate each other when one of them wins,” she states. “And I know they are both proud of each other for what they have achieved.”


Does she make her allegiances known publically? Busch jokes, “Everybody tells me I need to have a blouse with one side M&M’s and the other side Miller Lite, but that doesn’t matter to me as much as seeing them both finish well.”


And by finishing well, Gaye Busch makes no qualms about either the motherly advice she gives her boys or the finish she wants to see. She concludes, “My advice to the boys is to get up to the front and stay there. You can control things better and it’s safer. And after that, I’m waiting for them to have a one-two finish.”


Mother knows best.


This article was originally published in the September 2010 edition of Currents Magazine.