Is Kyle Busch NASCAR's Next Legend?

David PhillipsAnalyst IJanuary 17, 2009

Let me start off by saying I’m neither a Kyle Busch fan, nor a Busch hater. I’m writing this story to inform you that we could be watching the next LEGEND OF NASCAR!

The 23-year-old Busch is the brother of former Sprint Cup Champion Kurt Busch and is from Las Vegas, Nev.

Many words can be used to describe Busch, such as talented, aggressive, unique, and drivin’. I’ll keep them G-rated for now, but seriously, could the best words be “Future LEGEND?”

In the short time he has been in NASCAR, he has made his mark in the sport. In his first race ever at age 16—before NASCAR limited the age to 18—he finished ninth in the Truck Series at O Reilly Raceway Park.

During the time before he could return to NASCAR, he won his very first ARCA race at Nashville and the ASA.

In his return to NASCAR, he would finish second at Charlotte in his first Nationwide Series, (then called Busch Series).

He would go on in 2004 to grab five poles, five wins, 16 top-fives, 22 top-10 finishes and a second place showing in the points, behind Martin Truex Jr. in one of the closest points races in recent history.

In 2005, Rick Hendrick moved Busch up to the Sprint Cup ranks to replace Terry Labonte in the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevy. He went on to be the youngest pole winner and youngest race winner, en route to a Rookie of the Year-worthy performance.

Busch finished 2005 with two wins and 20th-place points finish.

The 2006 season brought Busch only one win, but a 10th place points finish. He ran more consistently as well. That same season was the first of three straight championships for teammate Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 crew.

The 2007 season would only bring Busch one more win, but he jumped five spots in the final standings to finish fifth in the points. It was also the last season Busch would sit behind the wheel of a Hendrick Chevy.

During the off-season, the shocking news came out that Hendrick had decided to let Busch go and that fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. would replace him.

It was an announcement that sent chills up the back of most NASCAR fans.

Busch quickly landed a home at Joe Gibbs Racing and the No. 18 team, once a championship team with Bobby Labonte. The team had struggled in recent years with J.J. Yeley, and Busch set out to prove Hendrick a fool for releasing him.

In his first season with the new team, Busch visited Victory Lane eight times in the Cup Series, winning over $8.2 million in purse money.

(Earnhardt Jr., by the way, managed only one points victory in 2007.)

Once the Chase started, Busch’s glass slipper would break and he would be forgotten about.

I know what you’re thinking; he’s not won a championship, how would he ever be a legend in NASCAR, and how could I be comparing him to the likes of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons, and Davey Allison?

Well here is how I did it:

If you take the average age of these legends when the retired—or died in big E’s case—it is 51. Busch is 22.

If he raced until he was 51, and averaged the stats he did in the first four years in the Sprint Cup, he would end up with 87 wins, 348 top-fives, 522 top-10 finishes, and 29 poles.

He would log more than 292,000 laps and earn well over $182 million in race earnings—numbers that would surpass Earnhardt Sr. in every category.

Before you say it, I know he would never be able to do what Petty did. But wait folks, if he could repeat what he did in 2008 until he was 51, he would end up with 232 wins, 493 top-fives, 609 top-10s and earn a meager $240 million. Those numbers (albeit a long shot) would surpass the King.

It’s possible folks, that’s if the Busch doesn’t die, quit, get suspended, or that NASCAR stays in business. I am in no way saying he’s the best or will be, I’m just say its possible.

Let me reiterate: I AM NOT A KYLE BUSCH FAN. But it is bone chilling to know there could be the Future LEGEND racing in our time!

Let me know how you feel.