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Statistically Speaking

5. Kyle Busch

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Busch had to miss 11 races in 2015 because of an injury sustained in an XFINITY race at Daytona International Speedway and it seemed like a long shot that he would even make the Chase. NASCAR waved the rule that said a racer must attempt every event to qualify for the playoffs, but the man who would be king showed determination and grit and became one of the five-best Fantasy NASCAR values in his shortened season.

Busch did not get behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota until May, but he immediately showed he would be worth the price of admission by nearly cracking the top 10 in the Coke 600. Two weeks later, he finished ninth at Pocono Raceway and he fulfilled one of NASCAR’s Chase requirements by winning the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in only his fifth start of the year.

The younger Busch brother has a tendency to overdrive on occasion, however, and in order to qualify for the Chase, he also needed to land among the top 30 in points. Accidents at Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway in two of his first four starts did not help his points’ position. Neither did a 17th in the Coke Zero 400, but he rattled off three consecutive wins immediately following the restrictor-plate, superspeedway race plus a second at Watkins Glen International and that turned his season around.

Once in the playoffs, Busch did not get a lot of respect. His brash racing style most often means that he is incapable of stringing 10 perfect races together and his longest streak of consecutive top-10s was four during the season. He did that twice, in fact with a string of strong runs from the August Bristol Motor Speedway race through the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway. The next time he was to accomplish that feat would be the reason he is the current Champ

He finished 20th or worse on two occasions during the Chase, but ran well enough in the other races during each round to advance.

Busch was at his strongest when it mattered most. While he is incapable of earning 10 straight top-10s, he proved to be more than capable of sustaining a four-race streak of top-fives in the last four races. A fifth at Martinsville Speedway and fourths at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway allowed him to advance to the Championship Round easily and a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway over the defending champion Kevin Harvick earned him the Cup.

Busch’s strength in 2015 could actually be a weakness in 2016. He will start the season with a formidable salary cap, but he has not shown the ability to sustain momentum. Where Harvick kept his impetus from 2014 to ’15, Busch is liable to be erratic still and that could make him a difficult driver to place-and-hold.

 

Track

Career Avg.
Finish

Career Avg.
Start

Best
Finish

Career
Attempts

Race 1

Race 2

Kentucky Speedway

3.80

6.80

1

5

1

 

Richmond International Raceway

7.10

12.71

1

21

NA

2

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

9.73

19.00

1

11

1

 

Auto Club Speedway

10.12

11.35

1

17

NA

 

Watkins Glen International

10.45

8.27

1

11

2

 

Chicagoland Speedway

11.36

13.00

1

11

9

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

11.95

17.43

1

21

NA

8

Darlington Raceway

13.00

15.45

1

11

7

 

Phoenix International Raceway

13.81

11.86

1

21

NA

4

Texas Motor Speedway

13.95

14.00

1

22

NA

4

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

14.36

8.27

1

11

NA

 

Dover Downs International

14.59

11.00

1

22

36

2

Charlotte Motor Speedway

15.13

13.08

2

24

11

20

Martinsville Speedway

15.14

11.95

2

21

NA

5

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

15.83

10.77

1

23

1

37

Atlanta Motor Speedway

15.94

11.24

1

17

NA

 

Pocono Raceway

18.41

12.36

2

22

9

21

Daytona International Speedway

18.95

14.77

1

22

NA

17

Sonoma Raceway

19.09

16.45

1

11

1

 

Michigan International Speedway

19.59

14.23

1

23

43

11

Kansas Speedway

20.38

15.50

3

16

NA

5

Homestead - Miami Speedway

21.09

13.09

1

11

1

 

Talladega SuperSpeedway

21.81

21.43

1

21

NA

11

 

+ Top-five sweeps
* Top-10 sweeps
 

6. Brad Keselowski 
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
8. Jimmie Johnson 
9. Denny Hamlin 
10. Martin Truex Jr. 
11. Kyle Larson 
12. Carl Edwards 

 

Dan Beaver
Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.