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Kurt Busch
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Statistically Speaking

Head-to-Head: Kyle versus Kurt Busch

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: May 19, 2019, 7:36 pm ET

Kyle Busch has won three races this year, finished second in the Daytona 500 and third on two other occasions.

Kurt Busch has just three top-fives with a best of second at Bristol Motor Speedway.

But who is the better fantasy value?


In the Food City 500, Kurt finished second to Kyle and told reporters afterward that if he could have gotten to the bumper of the No. 18, he would have wrecked him, noting that they two don’t spend Thanksgiving together anyway.

Most  will immediately assume that Kyle is the better overall value based on his win and top-five record, but often there is more that goes into fantasy scoring than straight up NASCAR-awarded points at the end of the race.

Kyle has an average finish of 7.1 so far this season. It was 5.0 before Kansas. Kurt has an average finish of 8.8; he also has one poor finish of 25th in the Daytona 500. Both drivers have long streaks to their credit. Kyle started the season with a record-tying 11 consecutive top-10s. Kurt has 11 consecutive top-15s with only three of those results outside the top 10.

That makes their raw numbers remarkably close.

Where each of them scored their poor result says a lot about their reliability. Kurt was swept into someone else’s mistake at Daytona International Speedway – a circumstance so common that it makes handicapping a race on that track virtually impossible. Kyle made his own bad luck at Kansas Speedway when he lost his composure following a penalty and pressed too hard coming through the field.

Last night’s All-Star Race was yet another example of Kyle’s tendency to drive beyond the capability of the car. In the closing laps of the exhibition race, he slapped the wall hard. The damaged Toyota held together, but the handling was affected and Kyle lost the chance to win second All-Star trophy.

For all his reported fiery personality off the track and over the radio, Kurt is a much less passionate driver. He is certainly aggressive, but rarely overdrives or pits his car in a precarious position.

The most telling statistic might be this, however: In games that offer place-differential points, Kurt has been almost perfect. His average finish of 8.8 can be adjusted to .58 when one considers that he adds more than eight points on average for finishing better than he qualifies.

With an average improvement of 5.4, Kyle’s adjusted finishing result is 1.7. That puts the Busch Brothers head and shoulders above the competition. The next best driver in the field is Martin Truex Jr. with an adjusted average of 5.6.

While trying to keep his top-10 streak alive in recent events, Kyle has looked much more like Kurt. Before Kansas, three of the last five races ended in 10th-place finishes. A couple of these were close calls with him taking the final slot in the closing laps. He was eighth on one other occasion. In that span of events, Kyle once more narrowly edged Kurt with an average finish of 7.8 to 8.2.

So who is the better value? We’ll have to tip the scale in Kurt’s favor.

In the Draft Kings salary cap game, Kurt has been more expensive than $10k only three times this year with a high of $10,700. Kyle has never been cheaper than $10k with a high of $13,000 twice. The amount of money expended to get points from Kyle is much greater than for Kurt, which limits what a player can do in the middle and lower tiers of the game.

In allocation management games, Kurt also gets the nod because he is far less popular with the rank-and-file. That makes him a great differentiator on your lineup and what is given up on those weeks when Kyle does not overdrive is more than made up for in consistency.

 

Race

Kyle

Kurt

Daytona

2

25

Atlanta

6

3

Las Vegas

3

5

Phoenix

1

7

Auto Club

1

6

Martinsville

3

12

Texas

10

9

Bristol

1

2

Richmond

8

11

Talladega

10

6

Dover

10

13

Kansas

30

7

 

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.