Things are winding down in my 35 day preview, with today being Day 26.
Today, we look at the driver that everyone had penciled in (good thing they didn’t use pen) as the 2008 champion just a few races into the season.
Kyle Busch opened the season on a mission, and that mission appeared to be winning his first championship.
Unfortunately, the old saying of someone “peaking too early” never proved truer then with the No. 18 team, as they fell out of contention as the Chase started and limped their way to a top-10 finish in the points.
Entering the 2009 season, Busch takes on the "veteran" status at Gibbs Racing. Though it’s only his second year there, he brings the most experience and wins to the table, now that Tony Stewart has moved back to Chevy.
Everyone may have forgotten about Busch’s older brother, with all his success last year, but Kurt still has a championship and “Shrub” (as he’s often called) has yet to collect that.
Busch is on the verge of doing great things in the sport, and 2009 could be just another step up for him, but will the team mature enough to bring home the title?
Here is a look at today’s preview:
Today’s Spotlight: No. 18
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Driver: Kyle Busch
Sponsor: M and M's(30 races)
Pedigree Dog Food(3 races)
Interstate Batteries(6 races)
Interstate Batteries Racing — For a look at paint schemes visit Jayski.com.
Driver 2008 Stats: Busch won more than $6.5 million with eight wins last year. He finished in the top-five an astounding 17 times and had 21 top-10 finishes to go along with those stats. His average finish of 13th, however, proved to not be enough as he fell out of contention early in the Chase and couldn’t recover.
News: This team didn’t have much news during the off-season. When things aren’t broken, you don’t fix them. The No. 18 team certainly wasn’t broken in 2008. The only news regarding the Joe Gibbs team is the addition of newcomer Joey “Sliced Bread” Logano to the stable.
The team now is full of a bunch of young'uns, with Busch leading the way at 23 years old.
My Prediction for 2009: This is a hard bunch to predict. One minute they look like the top team in the garage, while the next they can’t do anything right. For ’09, I predict this team will be stronger in the Chase, but not quite strong enough to take home the title. I see Busch finishing somewhere between second and fifth in the points.
Will this team remain in top 35: Yes.
Up Tomorrow: No. 20 Joey Logano
This story also appears on my blog: Sports 101
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