Where Does Kyle Busch Rank Among NASCAR's All-Time Greats?

Paul CarreauAnalyst IJuly 29, 2013

At just 28 Kyle Busch is already the all-time leader in wins in the Nationwide Series.
At just 28 Kyle Busch is already the all-time leader in wins in the Nationwide Series.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

When you look at the career statistics for Kyle Busch, it is easy to forget that he is still only 28 years old. Busch has been a full-time competitor in one of NASCAR's top two series since 2004, when he was just a 19-year-old kid.

With the impressive list of accomplishments that Busch already boasts, it is a fair question to ask where he currently ranks among the greatest drivers in the sport's history, and where he will ultimately rank when his remarkable career one day comes to a close.

Busch has scored 117 total wins in his NASCAR career between all three series, which ranks him second to only Richard Petty on the all-time NASCAR wins list.

His 32 Truck Series wins are second all time, while he is the career leader in wins in the Nationwide Series with 59, including eight already this season after this past weekend's triumph in Indianapolis.

In the Sprint Cup Series Busch has won 26 races, which ranks him inside the top 25 of all time. He has been victorious at least once in every season since becoming a full-time competitor.

Some critics may point to the fact that the Nationwide Series and Truck Series are relatively new. Drivers like Richard Petty and David Pearson were never able to take advantage of the opportunity to race in multiple series at the same time and enhance their win totals.

While that is certainly a valid point, there is still no denying how successful Busch has been at all three levels of competition. His 117 combined wins have come in just 681 combined starts.

Breaking it down further, Busch has scored 414 top-10 finishes in those starts, and 310 times he has ended his day inside the top five.

Clearly, Busch has already proved himself worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as some of the legends of the sport.

But the potential is there for him to be even better. While Busch's list of accomplishments is incredible, it's the things that are missing from his resume that are holding him back from ascending into NASCAR's upper echelon of greatness.

Noticeably absent from Busch's list of accolades are a Sprint Cup Series Championship and wins in either of the sport's two most prestigious races.

Not only has Busch never won a Sprint Cup Championship (he does have a Nationwide Series Championship to his credit, though), he has only finished inside the top five in the year-end point standings one time in eight seasons.

Besides not claiming a series title, Busch has also failed to win either the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400, arguably the sport's two biggest races.

Busch has posted just two top-10 finishes in his nine Daytona 500 appearances, with a fourth-place effort being his personal best.

Indianapolis has been much kinder to Busch, as he has seven top-10 finishes in nine starts, posting a runner-up finish in 2012. But the win column remains empty.

While winning those two races aren't necessary for Busch to cement his impending legacy, at least one championship is. Most likely it will take multiple series titles for Busch to ever be considered alongside Petty and Dale Earnhardt in the discussion for greatest of all time.

The lack of a Sprint Cup Series Championship aside, Busch is clearly one of the top drivers in the sport today. And while it may be too early in his career to label him with any sort of all-time great tag, at the rate he is going, he appears to be well on his way to achieving legendary status.