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NASCAR unofficially kicks off the 2023 season at the L.A. Coliseum, and C.J. Radune recommends waiting for the field to be set to make picks, but he has high hopes for Christopher Bell.
NASCAR's best return to take on the quarter-mile oval built inside the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Mark Taylor previews "The Clash" and tells us who to keep an eye on in this season-opening exhibition race.
Mark Taylor ranks the drivers ahead the Truck Series season. With some young talent making the move up, can anyone dethrone Zane Smith in 2023?
Check out how your favorite driver stacked up to the competition last season, including Ross Chastain who shocked the world in his first season with Trackhouse Racing.
Mark Taylor projects wins, poles, laps led and more for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. Check out the sortable rankings now.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
The two-time Cup Series champion has struggled through what we'd term two challenging seasons of no practice and no qualifying. Busch may be one of the highest profile drivers to be impacted the most by NASCAR's major change in racing policy. He went from posting 5.5 wins per season between 2015-2019 to posting just 1.5 wins per season over the last two campaigns. The impact to his consistency and dominance has been obvious. In 2022 practice and qualifying will return, albeit in a bit different package than pre-COVID. Still, the return of pre-race practice and setting the grid by qualifying will be a welcome sight for the Joe Gibbs Racing star. Busch should claw his way back to the four-to-five win plateau and 18-to-20 Top-5 mark in the upcoming season. It means the No. 18 Toyota team will once again be serious championship contenders and not just a face among the Top 10.
No driver was impacted more by the COVID-affected season last year than Joe Gibbs Racing star Busch. When NASCAR resumed action after a brief shutdown in early 2020, the sanctioning body scrapped practice and qualifying to streamline race weekends. That one development seemed to hurt a lot of drivers, Busch chief among them. He and crew chief Adam Stevens were very good at improving a car before the race and were denied that ability last season. As a result, Busch struggled to a one-win, 20 Top-10 season that saw him finish a distant eighth in the points. Coming on the heels of his 2019 championship, it was Busch's worst campaign since 2014. The two-time Cup Series champion should rebound well in 2021. He'll have a new crew chief, Ben Beshore, calling the shots. Busch should have little trouble adapting and returning to a more typical 4-to-5-win season this year.
Busch cemented his NASCAR legacy last season with a five-win, 27 Top-10 campaign, and walked away with his second Cup Series championship after winning the season finale at Homestead. For five-straight seasons Busch has registered at least four victories and Top-5 finishes in the driver standings. The Joe Gibbs Racing star has become the gold standard in NASCAR's top division and is finally in position to start piling up the championships much like what Jimmie Johnson did in the early 2000's. Busch will set out to defend his championship in 2020. Adam Stevens returns as crew chief of the No. 18 Toyota team, and the duo will look to continue their dominance. Recent trends point to 5+ wins and roughly 26-28 Top-10 finishes. Busch will once again be one of the top contenders to win the championship, and a regular face among the leaders each week.
Busch may have pulled up short in his quest to win a second championship in 2018, but he didn't fail to deliver the stats last season. The Joe Gibbs Racing star continued to be among the leaders in the Monster Cup Energy Series, by posting a career-best eight victories. He also forged career-bests of 22 Top-5 and 28 Top-10 finishes last season. It's hard to have a much better season than this, and not win the championship. However, due to the fickle nature of the Chase and how NASCAR crowns their champion, Busch walked away fourth in the final driver standings. That gives him four consecutive seasons in the Top-4 of the standings. It also signals averages of 6 victories and 23 Top-10 finishes over the last four seasons. That's nearly as good as it gets. With all the team components returning in 2019, including crew chief Adam Stevens, we expect Busch's streak of dominance to continue.
The Joe Gibbs Racing star pulled out all the stops to win a second championship last season. Busch grabbed five wins and 22 Top-10 finishes en route to a runner-up finish in the final driver standings. He led a career-best 2,023 laps last season, so he was up front a lot. With last season's efforts, Busch has finished first, second and third in the standings each of the last three years. At 32-years-old he's in the prime of his career, and with the average age of the Monster Energy Cup Series getting younger, he should be set up for dominance for years to come. The driver of the No. 18 Toyota will win a second championship at some point, that's almost a foregone conclusion. This season could be it. Certainly his excellence and consistency each of the last three seasons have established Busch as one of the most dominant drivers in the sport.
The 2015 series champion was unable to defend that title last season. Still, Busch had an incredible year, and one that easily ranks in the Top 3 of his career. The Joe Gibbs Racing star piled up four victories and a career-best 25 Top-10 finishes. The veteran driver of the No. 18 JGR Toyota wound up third in the final driver standings, and he was in the hunt for the championship until the final laps of last season. We expect the status quo to continue with this driver and team in the upcoming season. Busch and crew chief Adam Stevens have built the No. 18 team into something very special over the past two seasons. The level of performance is good enough to warrant multiple win seasons, and championship contention for the foreseeable future.
After suffering leg and foot injuries in last season's Speedweeks at Daytona, Busch came back after missing the first 11 races of 2015 to mount a historic comeback. He would win five races, including the season finale at Homestead, en route to winning the Sprint Cup Series championship. Busch's first title was a pretty impressive feat given the serious injuries he received in his Daytona crash. In just 25 starts the Joe Gibbs Racing star amassed 12 top-5 and 16 top-10 finishes to go along with those five victories. It took 11 full-time seasons for Busch to claim his first championship, but we're willing to bet it won't be nearly as long before his next. He's averaged three wins and 20 top 10s over the last five seasons, which makes the driver of the No. 18 an elite level driver in NASCAR's top division.
For the first time in his Sprint Cup career, Busch ended last season on a very strong note. The Joe Gibbs Racing star typically struggles to finish the season and has traditionally been a bad performer during the Chase. Not in 2012. Busch posted seven Top 5’s and eight Top 10’s in those final 10 races of last season and accumulated the second-most points of any driver in the series. Had he been a participant in the Chase for the Cup there’s little doubt he’d been a prime contender for the championship. Busch seems to be finally developing some good chemistry with crew chief Dave Rogers. The two have been working together for three seasons to get to this point. We expect very big things for the No. 18 Toyota team in 2013.
Busch exceeded everyone's wildest dreams in 2005. His rookie season saw him become the youngest (19) driver to ever win a Nextel Cup race. The sky's the limit in the 2006 season for this promising young talent.
More Fantasy News
KBM Truck races named
Zariz Transport will sponsor Kyle Busch in five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 2023 in the No. 51 Chevrolet for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports.
Arrest for Gun
A number of Americans have been caught with firearms at Cancun International Airport over the last year, but the most recent case involves a well-known American NASCAR driver. Busch, a champion race car driver, was caught with a .38 caliber handgun and hollow tip ammunition in his luggage at Cancun Airport, Cancun Sun reports.
Rallies to Third at Coliseum
Busch finished third in the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum Sunday night.
Busch, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick will all make their debuts this season in Tony Stewart's summer all-star series, while four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves confirmed Wednesday he'll return for a third season, the Associated Press reports.
Crew chief suspended
Busch's crew chief Ben Beshore has been suspended for the next four events after a wheel came off the car at Las Vegas last week, Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports.