(Cover Photo Credit: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
14th Place – Kyle Busch – 2,223 pts
JOE GIBBS RACING – TOYOTA
16.75 Average Finish in 2022 – Kyle Busch’s final year with JGR might have been one to forget. His 16.75 Average Finish was the 3rd worst in his 18-year full-time Cup Series career. It was a year of inconsistency, and a year of questions – at least until his 2023 plans were announced. Whether the circus that surrounded Busch for the first half of the season was a distraction or not, there was certainly some increased attention on his performance.
2,009 Quality Passes in 2022 – Whether you like his personality or not, it can’t be denied that Kyle Busch is a generational talent. His 2,009 Quality Passes (green flag passes while running in the top 15) were 6th best of all Cup Series charters, and he was only six Quality Passes behind eventual champion Joey Logano. In a year of transition, Kyle Busch was still a force to be reckoned with when he was in the Top 15.
88.91% Miles Completed in 2022 – The inconsistency that plagued Kyle Busch in 2022 is nowhere more evident than in this stat. That number of miles completed places him 24th of the Cup Series charters – literally just 35 miles ahead of the Rick Ware #15 Car. When he was good, he was good. But when things weren’t going well, he either had DNFs or finished laps down.
Tied for 9th in All-Time Cup Series Wins – His 60 Cup Series wins are tied with Kevin Harvick for 9th on the all-time list. With Harvick having announced his retirement at the end of 2023, Kyle Busch looks like he could end up above him on the list when it’s all said and done. Next above them on the list is Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) with 76, which will be hard for him to catch. He’s likely going to finish 9th on the list, but that is certainly nothing to slouch at.
10.70 Career Races per Win – With the amount of winning that Kyle Busch has done throughout his Cup Series career, he leads all current drivers in this category. Essentially what it means that for every 10.7 races he has run in the Cup Series, he has won one of them. As he gets older, and his win frequency has gone down, this number has gone up. But nonetheless, it is impressive.
As alluded to above, Kyle Busch will not be returning to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023. In what was perhaps the most talked about story of ’22, Busch and JGR couldn’t iron out a new contract. After M&M’s decided they no longer wanted to sponsor the No. 18 Toyota, it became pretty clear that JGR wasn’t willing to give KB what he wanted financially. Enter Richard Childress, stage left! Kyle Busch signed a new deal with Richard Childress Racing, and will drive the No. 8 in ’23.