It’s become a fair question to ask: where does Kyle Busch stand among the greats of NASCAR? It’s not a crazy question to ask anymore. Just start with the stats, and he already has a Hall of Fame resume with plenty of gas left in the tank.
With his Saturday night win at Richmond, Kyle Busch has 46 Cup victories. That total has taken him past such luminaries as Mark Martin and Bill Elliott. NASCAR pioneer Buck Baker had 46 victories. Herb Thomas, Tony Stewart and Junior Johnson are all on his radar. More importantly, he’s won a championship at the Cup level in 2015. Since then, he’s finished third and second at season’s end. During the course of his career, the Las Vegas native has finished outside the top ten for the season four times. Short tracks, intermediates, road courses and superspeedways, Kyle Busch has won them all.
This is to say nothing of what he’s done in the Xfinity and truck series. It’s easy to downplay that success, but underscores the varied talents of the one they call Rowdy.
Because of his tempestuous nature and because he races in a Toyota (something old school fans still have a problem with) Kyle Busch will likely never have universal acceptance. That’s ok, not everybody loved Dale Earnhardt or Jeff Gordon.
Whether it’s his mastery of re-starts, his fearlessness, his ambition or any number of different things, the stock of Kyle Busch continues to rise on the all-time lists. This doesn’t mean you have to like him; in fact, it’s good for the sport you don’t. There needs to be that black hat to offset the white hats. Right now, an excellent battle for supremacy is brewing between Busch and Kevin Harvick- two former champions with a bit of a bitter history.
He’s now tied for 15th all-time for wins, can we at least say Kyle Busch is a top 15 all-time? Heck, I’d say he may even be a top ten.
All that being said, and as a fan, I don’t root for the guy.