Kurt Busch 2014 Stats: Points Finish 12th, 0 Poles, 1 Win, 6 Top Fives, 11 Top Tens, Average Running Position 14.0, Average Finish 18.9, Laps Led 220, Driver Rating 87.8
Strengths – Kurt Busch is a very talented driver who’s capable of performing well on every track type. Look for his best days to come at intermediate tracks, road courses, short tracks and Pocono.
Weaknesses – Consistency has been a weakness. Last season he had a lot of problems which relegated him to less than stellar results.
Track Type Fantasy ValueKey=Elite > High > Moderate >Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – High
Kurt Busch really showed improvement on intermediate tracks over the course of the 2014 season. From Kentucky to Homestead minus Michigan #2 (top five potential but got into the wall late) and Kansas #2 (started near the back and had problems early) he had an 11.6 average finish and an 11.9 average running position. In his two intermediate track races with Tony Gibson as his crew chief at the end of the season he had results of 8th and 11th. From a career perspective intermediate tracks have been good venues for Kurt Busch and 10 of his 25 wins have come on this track type.
With the improvement he showed at the end of 2014 I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team be the “sleeper” team of the year on intermediate tracks.
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Flat Track Fantasy Value – High
Kurt Busch performs well at some flat tracks. His best flat track is Pocono. Last year he had results of 3rd and 13th at that venue. Since 2011 at the “Tricky Triangle” minus an August 2012 wreck he has a 5.3 average finish and a 6.2 average running position. Over that select group of races he has the best driver rating.
Indy is the other big flat track and it hasn’t been as friendly of a venue. Since 2008 he has 1 top ten and a 25.1 average finish. His last four Indy finishes were results of 28th, 14th, 36th and 21st. It should be noted he typically qualifies well there but that hasn’t translated into results.
New Hampshire has been a good track for Kurt Busch from a career perspective because he’s won there three times. Last fall in the Chase he likely had low teens potential but finished 36th after getting involved in a wreck. His two New Hampshire results prior to that event were finishes of 17th and 13th. In July 2013 he arguably had the best car and led 102 laps but wrecked.
Kurt Busch should be solid at Phoenix. He’s performed well there since the track was reconfigured. He could’ve potentially won the first race on the new layout but self-inflicted problems took him out of contention. Last fall in the desert he finished 7th. In spring 2014 he had top ten potential but finished 39th after engine problems. In fall 2013 he finished 5th.
Short Track Fantasy Value – High
Last season Kurt Busch made the Chase solely off his Martinsville win. I will say that was one of the most improbable wins of the season based on his track record. His most recent top ten prior to that event was in 2005. Last fall he also performed well and was a top five contender but an oil line problem ruined his day and led to a 36th place result.
At Richmond Kurt Busch has run well. In 3 of the last 4 races at that venue he’s finished in the top ten. Last fall he finished 7th. In spring 2014 he finished 23rd. In 2013 he was more competitive and was a contender to win both races.
Bristol has historically been his best short track. He’s won there five times but it’s important to note his most recent victory was in 2006. Last season he ran fairly well in both races. In August he started in 7th and finished 5th. In spring 2013 he ran well until he clipped his brother while trying to avoid him.
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Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – High
Many times I’ve declared Kurt Busch as the best restrictor plate driver who’s never won a race. He has the talent but luck has never seemed to be on his side. Last year at each track he had one good finish and one not so good finish.
At Daytona last season he ran well in both races. He finished 3rd in July after leading 36 laps and in the Daytona 500 he was a top ten contender but got spun late and finished 31st as a result. In July 2013 he finished 6th. In his career at Daytona he’s finished in the top five 39% percent of the time and in the top ten 50% percent of the time.
Talladega hasn’t been as friendly to him this decade. He finished 7th last fall and that marked his first top ten since spring 2010. In the eight races between his top tens he had a best finish of 18th and a 28.0 average finish. Over that tough stretch of races he did run well and had the 3rd best driver rating among competitors who competed in all 8 races.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – Elite
Kurt Busch is an elite road course driver. He can navigate his way around a serpentine track with the best in the business. Between the two road courses he’s a better performer at Sonoma. Last year at that venue he finished 12th. Prior to last season he had three straight top four finishes including a win in 2011. Even in sub-par equipment he was competitive there.
At Watkins Glen he also runs strong. Since 2007 minus his problems in 2011 and 2012 he has a 7.0 average finish and a 9.3 average running position. His two most recent Watkins Glen finishes were results of 3rd and 9th.