Since hitting the NASCAR major ranks in 2005 announcers, publicists and drivers alike have proclaimed Kyle Busch as the “most talented driver in NASCAR”. The term is still used today. I recall the day the current leader in active wins Jeff Gordon stated after winning in Phoenix in 2011 excitedly stating, “I just beat Kyle Busch!”
To me, analyzing the statistics from all three levels that Busch competes in is that he is a threat in the lower two tiers, when it comes to the top series he is an average threat to win each week. He is definitely not a serious title contender and definitely not one of the all time greats.
While 105 wins in the lower two tiers seem impressive the question that arises to me is: Is it? That is akin to the Atlanta Braves (a solid perennial playoff team) playing the Toledo Mud Hens and beating them. The Philadelphia Eagles playing the Valdosta State Blazers and scoring 70 points. The resounding thought in my mind is “they should beat them”. Busch should be beating former cup stars whose talents are fading and under talented/under funded rookies trying to ascend to the Cup series.
In the Cup series up until last week he has 29 wins in his 10th full time season. Gordon after 10 seasons had 61 wins, Jimmie Johnson 55, Tony Stewart 33.
Kyle has reached his potential. He is as good as he can be. He still makes ill-advised moves (Kasey Kahne wreck in Pocono) and is still one of the most loathed driver in NASCAR to fans and drivers alike.
I believe it is time to pass or re-pass the “most talented driver in NASCAR” torch to Johnson, Gordon and possibly Kyle Larson who has a ton of potential, is level headed/cerebral driver and is having a terrific year so far.