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Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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16. Kurt Busch

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Kurt Busch will compete for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2019, replacing Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the No. 1.

This will be the fourth major team he has been with after racing for Jack Roush just shy of six seasons (2000-2005), six seasons with Roger Penske (2006-2011), and five seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing (2014-2018). He also raced for James Finch and Barney Visser in 2012-2013.

Busch has always had a fiery personality. He did not complete the 2005 season with Roush in part because of a traffic incident at Phoenix International Raceway that caused the owner to terminate his tenure two weeks shy of the end; the relationship between owner and driver soured well before that weekend, however. His time with Finch and Visser came because marquee owners were less than thrilled with the way comported himself. When he joined SHR, that team was still developing and that seemed to be a great matchup for a while.

Last year, he began to complain that he was not getting the respect he felt he deserved.

Busch was one of the highlights last year. He rode along on a wave created by Kevin Harvick and the remainder of the SHR organization and made his way deep into the playoffs while scoring only six top-fives. One of these was a victory in the fall Bristol Motor Speedway race.

Busch was still in contention to make the Championship 4 in the late stages of the Phoenix race before he was eliminated by a crash on lap 272 of 312.

His real mark came with consistency, however. Busch finished in the top 10 22 times and among the top 15 on four other occasions. After suffering two accidents in the first three weeks, he mostly ran between eighth and 14th until the spring Talladega Superspeedway race. In that event, he finished second and was fifth the following week at Dover. Fourteen of his 22 top-10s came from April through September in a span of 17 races.

There are a lot of reasons to be positive about his handicap next year.

The issue with him in 2019 – and why we only rank him 16th – is that he is joining a team that had limited success last year. McMurray scored only eight top-10s and two more top-15s. The No. 1 team finished 21st in the points standings. Kyle Larson made the playoffs, but immediately hit a lull from which that he could not wrest himself.

Busch does not deal well with disappointment. And rest assured there will be plenty of disappointing races coming up in the first half of the season.

Three Best Tracks
Kentucky (12.0 in 8 attempts)
Auto Club (12.8 in 25)
Sonoma (13.6 in 18)

Three Worst Tracks
Las Vegas (22.4 in 18)
Martinsville (21.0 in 37)
Indianapolis (18.8 in 18)

2018 Stats
Victories: Bristol II
Top-fives: 6 (.167)
Top-10s: 22 (.611)
Top-15s: 26 (.722)

2018 Finishes at or above their rank? = 26 (72.2%)



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.
Email :Dan Beaver


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