Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing

by KFFL Staff on January 18, 2011 @ 18:41:00 PDT

 


Kyle Busch | No. 18 M&M's/Snickers/Combos/Pedigree/Double Mint Gum/Interstate Batteries Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Kyle Busch

After missing the Chase in 2009, Busch shed his checkers or wreckers mentality in 2010 and returned to the playoffs. His newfound attitude led to a 14.0 average finish last season - the second best average in his six-year career. Along the way, he still managed to notch three victories to go along with 18 top-10s. The fact that no driver spent more time on the lead lap last season than Busch was the true testament to Busch's maturity.

That's not to say Busch doesn't have some work to do. He had an epic meltdown at Texas in the fall after he gave a one-finger salute to a NASCAR official following a speeding penalty. Busch was docked two more laps thanks to the gesture, and he managed to turn a car capable of winning the race into a finish outside the top 30. 

Clearly, Busch is an emotional driver with an explosive temper, but if he can limit his outbursts to one or two a year, the good he does on the track will outweigh the bad. Since 2008, Busch ranks in the top 15 in terms of points scored at every type of track on the schedule, and he ranks sixth or better at all types with the exception of flat tracks. More importantly, Busch is the top-scoring driver at intermediate tracks during that stretch. With 24 of the 36 races being held at intermediate tracks each season, Busch's fantasy value is obvious.

The truth of the matter is that Busch has as much talent behind the wheel as any driver in the Cup Series. He can win a race at any track on any given weekend, and at times, he will perform like the top driver in the sport. That being said, he hasn't shown the ability to compete at that level for an entire season. There are a few too many up and downs to consider Busch a top-three fantasy option, but he has far too much potential not to pick in the first round of drafts.

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