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Kyle Busch
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Statistically Speaking

4. Kyle Busch

by Dan Beaver

Kyle Busch dominated 2018 alongside Kevin Harvick.

It would seem that having two drivers virtually guaranteed to score top-fives each weeks should have been a boon to players. Instead, it limited the other options in Pick ‘Em games and put extra pressure on making certain that the other picks were spot on.

With the exception of the Daytona 500, Busch was great from the beginning of the season. He crashed on the plate track and lost seven laps, and then rebounded the next week to win the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch finished seventh in that race, but was second or third in the next four events. He scored three consecutive wins at Texas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Richmond Raceway.

The only time during the season that Busch finished outside the top 10 in back-to-back races came in late April/early May at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover International Speedway. Otherwise, he was the perfect place-and-hold driver for the season.

Busch won the next to last race at Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway and was in a great position to win the championship. At Homestead-Miami Speedway in the finale, however, he was the worst performer among the Championship contenders, but still earned his 22nd top-five with a fourth-place finish as the contenders swept the front of the pack.

Like several other drivers last year, Busch had a career season. He tied 2008 for the most wins in a year, but held his strength throughout the playoffs to finish fourth in the rankings. (Busch was 10th in 2008.) He had more top-fives (22) and top-10s (28) than any other year.

Fantasy players can easily expect the same thing in 2019. Last year was the fourth consecutive season in which he advanced to the Championship race in title contention and the fourth time in the last five years that he finished fourth or better in the standings.

About the only concern for 2019 is that Busch has a tendency to lose his composure when things go wrong. Fortunately in 2018, nothing went wrong so he was not challenged by that shortcoming. But if he goes through a period of adjustment with the new aerodynamic rules and finishes outside the top 10 in more than three consecutive races, he could struggle to regain his equilibrium and might be best avoided for a little while.

Three Best Tracks
Kentucky (5.0 in 8 attempts)
Richmond (6.9 in 27)
Watkins Glen (9.4 in 14)

Three Worst Tracks
Talladega (20.7 in 27)
Daytona (19.2 in 28)
Michigan (18.4 in 29)

2018 Stats
Victories: [8] (Texas I, Bristol I, Richmond I & II, Charlotte oval, Chicagoland, Pocono II, Phoenix II)
Top-fives: 22 (.611)
Top-10s: 28 (.778)
Top-15s: 29 (.806)

2018 Finishes at or above their rank? = 21 (58.3%)

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.