Do you like Kyle Busch? Be honest, do you like Kyle Busch?

          Chances are that unless Busch is your favorite driver, you most likely don’t like him. Heck, if Busch isn’t your favorite driver he also probably isn’t one of those drivers in which you’re “happy to see win” when your favorite driver doesn’t win.

          Let’s go full disclosure shall we?

          Unless Busch is your favorite driver he is most likely one of those drivers where you’re watching the race and you say “I’ll be happy with anybody winning this race except for Kyle Busch.”

          You don’t have to like Busch. In fact, if you don’t like him it doesn’t even really matter why it is that you don’t like him. Maybe you think his attitude sucks or maybe you don’t like the way in which he can be aggressive on the track at times.

          Guess what? 

          You don’t have to like Busch. You don’t have to root for him on race day and you don’t have to be excited for successes. However, you do need to respect Busch. You do need to respect and appreciate everything that he has done in NASCAR up to this point in his career.           You need to respect the things that he will be doing later on in his career as well. Love him, hate him, feel nothing towards him, all of that is fine because none of that matters.

          Kyle Busch is well on his way to becoming a NASCAR legend and fans across the sport need to do a better job of both understanding and appreciating that.

          When NASCAR comes to an end for Busch he most likely isn’t going to have 200 wins in the Sprint Cup Series or anywhere close to six or seven Sprint Cup championships. Busch is never going to be the most popular driver of the year or someone that the majority of the NASCAR Universe loves and adores. All of that is okay though because Busch’s path to becoming a NASCAR legend is different than others who already bear that title. Busch’s path to becoming a NASCAR legend is one that only he has walked and that’s one of the things that makes it so special.

          What is the measure of a legend in the world of sports?

          Some will say an athletes drive, determination, character, personality, triumphs and failures all contribute to said athlete being elevated to legendary status. While some of this might be true, we all know it’s not the biggest factor. In sports the quickest path to becoming a legend is winning. If it’s championships that you’re winning you will get there even faster. If you’re not winning championships, winning in general and putting up gaudy stats will take you a long way.

          In the world of NASCAR who are the legends? Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson might be some of the first names that come to mind. Those reading this article will use their next breath to say that Busch doesn’t belong in the same category as any of those drivers. If you’re one of the people that feels that way, you’re wrong.

          Since his first NASCAR race, Busch has won 157 times in his NASCAR career. Only one driver has ever won more races than Busch during their career and that was Richard Petty (200).

          But wait, let me guess, Petty is better than Busch because all 200 of his wins came in the Sprint Cup Series and not all of Busch’s came there? Saying that Petty is better than Busch is fine. 200 wins and seven titles makes Petty pretty damn good, but that doesn’t mean that Busch’s stats don’t hold merit. If Busch retired today, his numbers would be impressive. Add to the mix the fact that he is also an Xfinity Series champion and a Sprint Cup Series champion and his numbers become even more impressive. Now take this into consideration, Busch turns 31 in May of this year.In today’s NASCAR drivers are racing well into their early 40’s which means that realistically there is no reason to think that Busch doesn’t have another nine or ten seasons left in him (at least).

          Can you imagine what Busch’s numbers will look like if he retires from NASCAR at 41 or 42?

          Busch is on pace to easily win more than 200 races (between all three series) in his NASCAR career. If the driver of the No. 18 machine in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for another 10 season he will be on pace to win a total of 225 races combined (and that’s a conservative estimate). The 225 wins are based on what he has accomplished to this point in his career, taking into consideration that his wins will most likely decline with age. Should Busch not suffer a major decline and run later in his career the way that drivers like Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are; Busch could easily win more than 250 races between NASCAR’s three major series. Add to the equation the fact that the new Chase format compliments Busch’s style and 250 wins and another title or two seem well within reach.

          Critics will penalize Busch and say that winning in the Xfinity Series and Truck Series don’t count because they are easy wins. Oh really? So were the 35+ other drivers on the track with Busch during all of those wins not trying to win? Did those other drivers let Busch win all of those races? Others will point out that the majority of Cup drivers don’t race in the lower series so Busch is racking up wins against lower talent. To that I say stop having sour grapes. Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and others have won their share of Xfinity Series races, with many of those wins coming during Busch’s career.

          There is nothing stopping Cup drivers from racing in other series. Some Cup drivers choose to do it and others do not. Busch not only chooses to do it, but he is damn good in the process. 

          When Busch enters an Xfinity Series race, he wins it 25 percent of the time (79 wins in 314 starts). 60 percent of the time he runs inside of the top-five and 71 percent of the time he runs inside of the top-10. When Busch enters a Truck Series race, he wins 34 percent of the time (44 wins in 129 starts). 64 percent of the time he runs inside of the top-five and 79 percent of the time he runs inside of the top-10.

          I don’t care who you are, those stats are beyond impressive. All of the stats that go into Busch’s 157 wins are impressive, and then you remember he isn’t even 31 yet.

          In sports, true success is measured in numbers and championships. Look at any sport and when it comes to greatness it’s the stats and the titles won that separate one great from the other. Busch already has the stats and the championships to put him near the conversation of being one of the greatest in NASCAR. 10 years from now (another championship or not) Busch will without question have the stats to solidify him as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.

          Those who hate Busch will disagree with everything in this article and that is fine. Those who hate Peyton Manning and Lebron James (just to name a couple) make similar ridiculous arguments in an effort to tear down those athletes. However, at the end of the day the numbers don’t lie. At the end of Busch’s career, he will have numbers the likes of which NASCAR has never seen before. You can argue all you want but it won’t stop Busch from cementing his place as a legend in NASCAR.

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