By admin | June 24, 2008
By Richard Allen
The season started off great for Kurt Busch and his Penske Racing South teammate Ryan Newman. They finished 1-2 at Daytona. This was coming off of a pretty good year in 2007 in which Kurt’s #2 team won two races, qualified for the Chase for the Championship and finished 7th overall. Since Daytona, however, there has not been much to cheer about for fans of the one who is quickly becoming “the other Busch”.
Back when times were better for Kurt, like in 2004 when he won the Sprint Cup championship, he was the unquestioned leader of the Busch family. People noted at the time that he had a little brother who also raced.
In his championship days with Roush Racing he was known as difficult to get along with, even to the point that he left or was asked to leave depending on the interpretation, before his contract had even expired.
Now, except for a dust up or two with Tony Stewart, he has seemingly tried to become a model citizen.
That being said, Kurt has been passed and left in the dust within the Busch family by little brother Kyle.
The statistics bear out the changing of the guard among the Las Vegas brothers. Kurt finished 2nd in the season opening Daytona 500 and has yet to add another Top 5 finish in 2008. As a matter of fact he has only one other Top 10, that an 8th place at Pocono.
The meager 2 Top 10s have been accompanied by 3 DNFs, all the result of crashes, and a miserable five finishes of 32nd or worse. He has led only 74 laps all season and has an average finish of 21.6.
All of these statistics add up to a 22nd place ranking in the overall standings. Kurt is a whopping 804 points behind Kyle, who is the overall leader. And perhaps more importantly, he is an almost insurmountable 288 points behind the all important 12th and final Chase transfer spot.
Kyle’s statistics are almost the complete opposite of his brother’s, just for the sake of comparison and to show how far the elder Busch has fallen since 2004. The younger Busch has five victories to his credit in 2008 to go along with 10 top 5s and 11 top 10s. He has led 869 laps and has an average finish of 9.6.
Kyle Busch has been nicknamed ‘Shrub’, a small Bush(or Busch). If he continues the freefall, or tumble, he has been on lately Kurt may soon find himself with a nickname like ‘Tumbleweed’.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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