Previewing 2017: Kyle Busch

By David Morgan, NASCAR Contributor

*Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season for 24 drivers. We will release one driver preview per day over a 24-day stretch.

Age: 31

Years in Cup: 13

Career Wins: 38

Biggest Accomplishment: 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion

After winning the championship in storybook fashion in 2015 with the epic comeback after suffering a broken leg to start the season, Kyle Busch looked to make it back-to-back titles in 2016 as he would be competing in his first full season since 2014, but for Busch and his No. 18 team, the dream of winning two championships in a row fell just short.

Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota as a whole was a dominant force throughout the 2016 season, with Busch serving as the ringleader. Over the course of the 36 race schedule, Busch captured four wins, including his first wins at Martinsville and Kansas, as well as a second straight Brickyard 400 win and his second win at Texas. In addition to those four wins, Busch scored 17 top-five finishes, 25 top-10 finishes, three poles, 1379 laps led, and an average finish of 11.5.

Just like his 2015 championship season, Busch made it into the Championship Four at Homestead, but fell just short of the title after his sixth place finish netted him a third place points finish, which is his second best points finish ever.

With that in mind, Busch, crew chief Adam Stevens, and Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole are raring to go in 2017 as they look to continue their dominance from last season and return to the championship stage at season’s end.

Busch has been stellar at all of the different track sizes over the past few years, with wins at top-five finishes on the short tracks, superspeedways, and the 1.5 mile tracks that make up the bulk of the schedule. Look for another multiple win season from the No. 18 team in 2017 as they will likely be right in the mix for another championship for the Las Vegas native.

Who knows, maybe Busch will be able to complete the cycle this season and knock off the final two tracks that he has not won at (Charlotte and Pocono) to give him wins at every track on the circuit.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.

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