Fantasy Article

Rotoworld

4. Kyle Busch

Dan Beaver
Friday, January 27, 2017

Kyle Busch has always been an all or nothing driver. He wins a lot of races in each of NASCAR’s Big Three divisions because he is willing and able to ride on the ragged edge. He stays right on that line 80 percent of the time, but since NASCAR implemented a 10-race playoff format to decide a champion, one or two trips into the wall at the wrong part of the season was often all it took to eliminate a driver from contention.

Matters only got worse with the four playoff rounds that currently mark the end. The impact of an accident is multiplied threefold, but Busch has either been incredibly lucky or he has figured out how to reign himself in during the final 10 races.

Last year, Busch crashed and failed to finish four races. These came at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and in both Bristol Motor Speedway events—but none of those were in the playoffs. He sustained crash damage but was running at the end of four other races. One of these was in round two of the Chase at Charlotte, but he managed to minimize the damage and finished sixth. Coupled with a fifth at Kansas Speedway, that allowed him to ride around in the back of the pack at Talladega SuperSpeedway to purposefully stay out of trouble.

NASCAR’s new points’ structure is going to throw everyone a curveball. Depending on when Busch sustains damage in a race, he could fail to be competitive at key junctures and that might hurt his ability to earn enough points to advance all the way to the third round. Busch is likely to win during the regular season and get an automatic advancement, however; and in most fantasy games, the bulk of points will still be paid at the end of regulation. That is where Busch has shown his greatest strength and it is likely he will continue.

Busch was incredible in 2015 and 2016. He won the championship two years ago and earned top-fives in 47 percent of his races last year. In fact, he swept the top five on five occasions and the top 10 twice more on 13 tracks that host two races. That means players should concentrate their starts in the second half of the season on courses where he ran well in the spring.

Currently, there are only two active tracks on which Busch has not won in NASCAR’s top division. Look for this team to put a lot of effort into Charlotte and Pocono Raceway in 2017 so that he can add those trophies to his mantelpiece.

Victories: Martinsville (spring), Texas (spring), Kansas (spring), and Indy
Top-fives: 17 (.472)
Top-10s: 25 (.694)
Top-15s: 27 (.750) 

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Best
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1.33

9.00

1

12

10

1

 

Texas Motor Speedway +

3.40

13.00

1

24

12

1

5

Kentucky Speedway

5.00

5.17

1

6

5

12

 

Kansas Speedway +

5.80

18.44

1

18

6

1

5

Richmond International Raceway *

6.00

6.96

1

23

17

2

9

Martinsville Speedway +

7.20

14.09

1

23

12

1

5

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

7.50

13.50

1

12

6

4

 

Chicagoland Speedway

8.00

11.08

1

12

7

8

 

Darlington Raceway

8.00

12.83

1

12

7

11

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway

9.50

15.22

1

18

6

3

 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway *

9.83

15.00

1

25

13

8

3

Phoenix International Raceway +

10.00

12.87

1

23

15

4

2

Sonoma Raceway

11.00

18.08

1

12

4

7

 

Auto Club Speedway

13.00

10.94

1

18

12

25

 

Homestead - Miami Speedway

13.25

19.83

1

12

5

6

 

Daytona International Speedway +

13.80

17.52

1

24

8

3

2

Charlotte Motor Speedway

14.00

15.46

2

26

15

33

6

Watkins Glen International

16.00

10.08

1

12

10

6

 

Talladega SuperSpeedway

19.00

21.30

1

23

6

2

30

Dover Downs International

20.33

14.71

1

24

15

30

2

Pocono Raceway

20.67

18.54

2

24

9

31

9

Bristol Motor Speedway

30.00

14.26

1

23

13

38

39

Michigan International Speedway

32.17

20.42

1

25

6

40

19

 

+ Top-five sweeps
* Top-10 sweeps

5. Chase Elliott 
6. Brad Keselowski 
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
8. Matt Kenseth 
9. Denny Hamlin 
10. Kyle Larson 
11. Martin Truex Jr. 
12. Carl Edwards 
13. Kasey Kahne 
14. Kurt Busch 
15. Erik Jones 
16. Ryan Blaney 

2016 Profile: Kyle Busch