2010 Stats: Points Finish 8th, 3 Wins, 10 Top Fives, 18 Top Tens, Average Running Position 11.9, Average Finish 14.0, Laps Led 1,271, Driver Rating 98.2
New Kyle Busch, Old Kyle Busch, does it really matter? I don’t think so, and for fantasy implications Kyle Busch has always seemed like Kyle Busch to me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him change.
For people who’ve heard me on the “On Pit Row” radio show in the past you’ve heard this fantasy racing theory of mine before. The theory I’m resurfacing is that Joe Gibbs Racing is the quickest engineering program in NASCAR.
Do you remember what team was the best when the COT was first introduced? It was Denny Hamlin. He wasn’t winning the races (not a clutch driver back then either), but he was the best in my opinion. Now we skip ahead to 2008 when the COT was rolled out full-time including the intermediate tracks. That non coincidentally was Kyle Busch’s best season.
Now we fast forward again to 2010 when NASCAR put the spoiler on the car. The week before Martinsville I was on the “On Pit Row” radio show and I told listeners that it would be a game changer, and Joe Gibbs Racing would be the benefactor of the car changes. Look what happened last season. Denny Hamlin was extremely strong, and Hendrick Motor Sports lost some competitiveness. Jimmie Johnson won half his races last year before the spoiler came into play and no other Hendrick car even won a race.
In 2011 things will be changing once again. This year the COT will have a whole new front nose. We’ll probably hear things along the line that it’s no big deal, but I’m going to tell you it is. I believe Kyle Busch is a driver who will greatly benefit from the COT changes in 2011.
Strengths – Look for Kyle Busch to be strong on intermediate tracks, short tracks and flat tracks in 2011.
Weaknesses – Kyle Busch is his own worst enemy. Many of his mistakes are self inflicted and completely avoidable. Do you remember how his freedom of speech gesture worked for him at Texas?
Intermediate Track Grade- A-, You gotta admit Kyle Busch was pretty good on intermediate tracks at the end of 2010. His results don’t show it so that’s why its important to look beyond the numbers. Kyle Busch was top ten material in every intermediate track race in the Chase.
(BEFORE proceeding check out this old post of mine explaining Yahoo Race Charts)
Dover – Finished 6th
Charlotte – Finished 2nd
Flat Track Grade- A-, Kyle Busch was strong on both the big flats and the small flats last year. On the small flats his finishes all fell between 8th and 13th. On the big flats last year he had finishes of 2nd, 8th, and 23rd. His 23rd place finish at Pocono was an outlier for him last season. To prove it all you have to do is check out his Yahoo race chart. I would say he was probably about a tenth place car.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B, My days of making him my default Daytona pick are over. Every time I did he crashed. I’ve learned my lesson. He’s good at them, but I don’t trust him anymore. Last season he finished in the top ten once and had a 22nd place average finish.
Short Track Grade- A, When it comes to Bristol and Richmond you can’t go wrong picking Kyle Busch. Last year he was an improved driver at Martinsville. He finished 4th and 22nd. In his 22nd place finish he was involved in a late race wreck that denied him a top ten.
Road Course Track Grade- A-, Since 2008 Kyle Busch has won two road course races and has only finished outside the top ten twice (22nd & 39th at Infineon in 2009 and 2010).
How to use Kyle Busch from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2011? Look for Kyle Busch to be strong at intermediate tracks in 2011, but if your in an allocation league make sure you save him for both Richmond and Bristol.