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Is Kyle Busch better than your favorite driver?

By admin | July 12, 2011

By Richard Allen


Kyle Busch has fans but based on reactions from the grandstands when he is introduced, reader comments to this and other blog sites and twitter posts, it is pretty clear that the fans of this driver are in the minority. So what is it that causes such bitter feelings toward the Las Vegas native?

The immediate reactions by many when asked that question typically center on Busch’s personality. Many of his detractors will claim that he has a bad attitude. While certainly he does at times exhibit behaviors I would not wish to see coming from my own children, there are other drivers who demonstrate many of the same characteristics as Busch but do not seem to stir quite the negative reaction as is directed toward this driver.

Perhaps the problem is that Busch beats the opposition more often than say Tony Stewart or Kyle’s brother Kurt. After all, no one would care about the bad attitude of a guy who runs in the middle of the pack.

After Saturday’s race in Kentucky, Kyle Busch’s Sprint Cup win total reached 22 at the young age of only twenty-six. After the weekend as a whole, his victory total in NASCAR’s top three divisions went to ninety-nine due to the fact that he also scored a victory in the Camping World Truck Series event on Thursday.

Of course, it is Sprint Cup wins that matter most for Sprint Cup drivers. However, in terms of angering fans at least, those Nationwide and truck wins seem to be serving the purpose. And bear in mind that while Busch’s lower series wins should not in any way be counted with the importance of Cup wins, he is often beating drivers such as Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski when he wins in those divisions.

Back to his Cup success, Busch has achieved more wins by this point in his career than most who he might be compared against. Jeff Gordon had an impressive 42 victories by age 26, which is a tough comparison for any other driver. But, Jimmie Johnson had only raced for one year prior to reaching age twenty-six so he had only scored three wins by that stage in his life. After beginning his career in IndyCar racing, Tony Stewart did not even reach Sprint Cup until age twenty-eight.

The key comparison fans of each of the above mentioned drivers can crow about when placed against Busch is their number of championships, of which he has none.

But here is where the rub comes for fans of anyone other than Johnson. In the relatively short time he has been a Sprint Cup driver(since 2005), Busch has amassed more victories than such popular favorites as Gordon, Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin. In other words, Busch has ruined the weekends of many race fans since 2005, although he can hardly be blamed for much that occurred to ruin this past weekend.

The bottom line is that Kyle Busch wins a lot of races. And bigger than that, he wins more than those who are favored by greater numbers of fans. That in turn cause many to dislike him. But the numbers are clear. Unless you are a Jimmie Johnson fan, he has won more races than your favorite driver since 2005.

So, are you prepared to concede that he is a better driver than your favorite?

Topics: Articles |

14 Responses to “Is Kyle Busch better than your favorite driver?”

  1. Gene Says:
    July 12th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I’m a fan of Kyle’s, and I’ll admit, he is the best driver out there. I’ll bet that most of the fans of other drivers will not admit that Kyle is better than their guy.

    I was never a fan of Dale Sr, but at least I could admit he was the best for about a twenty year stretch. Not because, he won championships, but because he did things with his car that other drivers could not do, or were to scared to try to do. You know, just like Kyle does now.

  2. Charles Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Kyle is a good driver, but I think if his brother Kurt was driving Kyles car or some of the others they would be just as good!

    Also where is the press that was proclaiming all of Fords FR9 engine advantage!

    I mean if Carl Edwards was dominating like Kyle has all the talk would be about ‘THE ENGINE ADVANTAGE” and a coming rule change!

    Ford has “not dominated” when you look at the stats, won only 5 races all still they talk about Fords Engine Advantage!

    Need to look “under the hood” of Kyles TOYOTA mabe to see as Paul Harvey use to say the ‘rest of the story”!

    These other dominating brands must have generic or ghost engines because the press never bring that out!

    Its always they have better drivers!

  3. Sue Rarick Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I think you hit the nail on the head Rich. The same was true for Darell Waltrip. We expect people with great talents to have some degree of modesty. But sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t, fans retaliate with boos.

    I am one of that Kyle fan minority. But I temper that by also being a Reutimann fan. Which has led to a few good news, bad news weekends.

  4. Chris Brewer Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    K Busch? he has driven for the top three organizations, how many championships? None. He is trying to beat RP’s record by going yo lower level of racing where money is scarce, yet he drivrs foe well funded teams. He is in his 6th year those you mentioned already had a championsip at this time in thier career. He is no Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, or Tony Stewart and never will be. He is a flash in a pan, greatness is viewed in championships, not lower series wins.

  5. KR Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 8:31 am

    “Back to his Cup success, Busch has achieved more wins by this point in his career than most who he might be compared against.” No, I don’t hink so! If you compare equivalent “Sprint Cup” starts; he ranks in the middle of the pack. 78% of his victories are in the lower series where he has better equipment and funding than the other drivers. Why do you even try to compare him to other drivers who have chosen to put their focus into one series? Maybe that is why KB has not won a championship yet; ever think of that? 99 victories is no small deal, but let’s get real about the comparisons!

  6. Hutch Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Statistically speaking Kyle is a better driver than my favorite driver.

    Kyle seems to be able to drive his car just over the edge of out of control and hold on to it like no one else in NASCAR right now. It doesn’t matter if he is loose or tight or if his car is banged up the guy can stand on the gas and wheel himself into position to win or finish high in the points nearly every race. That is frustrating to everyone who is not a Kyle Busch fan.

    However, it is how he comes across as the kid who smiles condescendingly at you while sticking out his tongue as he safely clings to his mother’s skirt. He is arrogant, provocative, rude and immature to a degree that makes you want to reach through the TV and slap that silly smirk off his face. More irritating is that he relishes his smarminess which is reflected in his cocky “bow” to the fans whenever he wins.

    Rightfully he has angered many drivers on and off the track and several owe him payback that will affect his finish and points in one or more of the upcoming races. I suspect this will be done when it can cause the most damage to his points standing - probably in on of the first few chase races after the points have been reset.

    The truth is that Kyle will deserve everything he gets.

  7. Bill B Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Seeing how I know you’ve been paying attention, how can you ask the question “So what is it that causes such bitter feelings toward the Las Vegas native?”

    I’ll just throw one thing out there… smashing that guitar at Nashville. What a putzy move that was.

    No doubt he is a good driver and by the time he ends his career he may be one of the best (only time will tell), but so far I don’t think he has set the world on fire in Cup (I don’t care about what he does in the other two series, they are just there for him to boost his ego and bank account).
    I see you decided to use age as your yardstick. Try using number of starts (in Cup only) vs wins and he just doesn’t seem that head-and-shoulders above most of the other top tier drivers.
    Having said that, he is definitely a force to be wreckoned with on the track.

  8. Swer Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Kyle is hated for many reasons including:

    1. He drives a Toyota
    2. He is arrogant.
    3. He wins too often.
    4. He is covered by the media more than other drivers.
    5. He’s had several feuds with very popular drivers (who have thousands of fans).

    All valid reasons to dislike the guy. But I dont understand why some of the hating commenters wish the guy would crash or get hurt. Does anybody know what cause this type of hate?

  9. Joe W. Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Swer to answer your question. I don’t think anyone wants Kyle Busch to get life threatening injuries. But they may want him to get a few bumps and bruises in hope of him changing his attitude a bit. All your points are reasons I don’t like him. He has ruined many weekends of racing for me. It’s to the point I rarely watch anymore. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt but I wish toyota would leave Nascar and take Kyle Busch with them. But hey that’s just one opinion.

  10. Jerry Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    When Kyle can go out there and do better than 5 championships in 5 years at the top level, then come talk to me. Seems nobody can beat the #48 when it comes time to be called the champion.

  11. Carl Watson Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    If we’re going to go by who had more wins by age (insert number) than I could make the case that Joey Logano is a better driver than Tony Stewart, because Logano had more cup wins before age 26 than Stewart had. Since as you noted, not all drivers enter the sport at the same age, then it would seem using “x number of wins by age X” is a piss poor means of comparison, and darnit Rich, I’ve read your page long enough to know that you know this!!! LOL

    If Gordon, Johnson, or Dale Sr had in their prime, wanted to run full schedules in the lower tier series and been driving around in top of the line equipment from RCR or Hendrick, then their total number of NASCAR wins would be much higher, but they didn’t. They just dabbled, and the cup series had fewer races in the 80’s and 90’s than it does now. Hell, the truck series wasn’t even around for most of Dale Sr’s career, so even if he had wanted to beat up the minor leagues full time, that 3rd series didn’t exist as an option. And if we’re going to start counting all lower tier “nascar” wins, then what about the modifieds? Let’s just start counting, ARCA, ASA, and every other stock car series wins for that matter, at which point Dick Trickle whoops most everyone. lol

    If you’re going to divide fractions, and that’s basically what you’re doing, you have to use a common denominator. Ie how many wins after their first 200 starts, or X number of full seasons, etc.

    Oh, and Busch isn’t the one ruining race weekends for us fans, or at least, not those of us who have been fans since the 1970’s. Ruining races is the domain of Brian France, Nascar, 1.5 mile cookie cutters, tinkering with the rules and what teams can do with the cars, closing the good short tracks, terrible TV coverage with announcers who are shills, Digger - someone please run over that tard, etc. Never once have I felt anything more than “meh” when Kyle Busch won a race, or Edwards, since most of my favs are dead or retired.

  12. Matt Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I love arguments like this, its completely ridiculous for someone to say that he does not at least deserve to be in the discussion as the best driver. What morons for thinking that somebody else in the 18 would have the same success. As I recall, the person in the 18 wasnt having any success, thats why Busch was brought in by Gibbs. Boom, 8 wins in 08. Sounds like the equipment, I guess Gibbs just had crappy equipment going to the 18 between 2000 (Labonte’s Cup championship) and 08. Nevermind Stewart was able to win a couple championships in Gibbs equipment during that time. The funniest thing about the whole argument is when folks bring up that he hasnt won a championship. Kyle Busch was a rookie the last time someone without the last name Johnson won the Sprint Cup, so chances are…your driver hasnt won a championship during Busch’s tenure either. Great argument though…..

  13. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    July 13th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Rich, I hate Kyle Busch with a Passion and I feel that hey, we might need some new drivers to knock Kindergarten Kyle off his High Horse!

  14. Sandy Says:
    July 17th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    In an article published about 5 or 6 years ago, before anyone was talking about Kyle too much, Darrell Waltrip is quoted as saying that, yes, Richard Petty won 200 cup races.

    “You look at Richard’s 200 wins, but that was accomplished when you could win 20-25 times in a season, and that’s not going to happen anymore,” said Darrell Waltrip, the modern-era wins leader with 84. “It’s hard to compare apples to apples here. If you look at the numbers, you can say no one is ever going to win 200 races, but if you look at the quality of those 200 Richard won, some of them were 100-lappers, some of them were 100-milers. Sometimes he won five races in one weekend: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and he’d win all of them because he was going somewhere where no one else was.”

    In that article, Jeff Gordon was 37 years old and the comparison was being made between his accomplishments at the time to The Kings.

    No one got upset about that. Why is it such a big deal now? If Richard Petty could go to races where no other big drivers were racing, win and it count, then why is anyone questioning the validity of Kyle’s wins in 3 NASCAR series where he races against Cup drivers in all of them?