Now that the confetti has settled, the champagne has dried, and we’ve recorded our Championship Week podcast, it’s time to talk about Kyle Busch’s second title.
Busch now joins Jimmie Johnson as the only two active drivers with multiple Cup Series championships. While parity is nice and the idea of a new champion every season is grand it doesn’t bode well for storylines.
NASCAR needs their star drivers to win championships, the need the faces of the sport to be the ones holding the trophies. Nothing against Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick but they’re all near 40 or older. Kyle Busch turns 35 next year, statistically speaking he’s entering the prime age for Cup drivers to start checking off titles. From a NASCAR marketing standpoint, Kyle Busch winning the title is something the sport can build off as Jimmie Johnson slowly begins his transition out of the sport.
But Kyle Is So Unlikeable!
That is exactly why Kyle winning the title this year is a good thing.
Kyle Busch is a polarizing character, the heel of NASCAR. The man goes by “Rowdy” and homage to Rowdy Burns in Days of Thunder. He drivers aggressively, he says the first thing that comes to his mind and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s everything NASCAR fans claim they want.
Yet week in and week out he gets more boos than any driver not named Joey Logano. “He whines too much” is what fans will say. “Is Kyle going to cry this week?” as if Kyle has ever cried after getting out of the car.
Kyle Busch is a lightning rod. Fans will turn off the race when it’s over. Haters will leave the post-race on but post on social about it for two hours after the race and all through the week. And that is exactly why Kyle winning the title is good for the sport. His championship ignites the fan base, there will be debates and arguments over his season and his accomplishments until cars roll onto the track at Daytona in February.
No offense to Truex, Hamlin, or Harvick but the social conversation doesn’t extend past Sunday night if any of them win. With those three being close or over 40 there isn’t much to build on. Harvick isn’t going to win 3 or 4 titles. Hamlin can’t win one and Truex also doesn’t have 4 titles in him. Do you know who does? 34-year-old Kyle Busch and fans will be debating this until he retires.
How Many Can He Get?
NASCAR has a new storyline as well headed into 2020. Can Jimmie Johnson win his eighth title in his final season (whoops.) Can Kyle Busch go back to back and get his third?
If Kyle can win a title in 2020 or 2021 there will be talk about how many he can grab before he retires. We’ll never see a run like Jimmie Johnson went on winning 5 in a row. That’s preposterous and we still can’t believe that happened but the sport needs a record chaser to promote once Jimmie leaves, and that’s Kyle Busch.
56 wins and 2 titles at the age of 34. Jimmie Johnson won his 5th title when he was 34 for Kyle has some catching up to do. However, if he puts together a season as he had in 2019 there’s a chance. Kyle had 5-wins, 17 Top-5s, and a series-high 27 Top-10s. Half the battle of winning a race and the title is putting yourself in position, no one is better at that currently than Kyle Busch.
Having said all of that, Kyle Busch will end his career with 4 Championships.
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