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Jared Gravette: Strange season yields strange result for Kyle Busch

Kyle busch-bc.jpg

Kyle Busch has one win at Talladega.

It’s been a strange year for NASCAR.

We’ve mostly got COVID-19 to thank for that.

The season was halted after just four Cup Series points races, and it took more than two months for drivers to get the green light to return. NASCAR has used mid-week races to make up for lost time. There has been no qualifying, no practice. Just racing, and lots of it.

So let’s talk a little racing.

A strange season has produced strange results for defending Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, one of the most consistent performers on the circuit over the course of his career.

Busch won at least one Cup Series race in each of his first 15 seasons as a full-time driver. He’s won 56 Cup Series races and two Cup Series championships during his career. He’s made the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in each of the last five seasons, finishing first, third, second, fourth and first in the points standings during those years. It doesn’t get much more consistent than that.

That brings us to Busch’s puzzling 2020 season. Through 19 points races, Busch has not made his way to Victory Lane. He’s ninth in the Cup Series points standings — 201 points behind leader Kevin Harvick — with just one stage victory. If the playoffs began this weekend, Busch would enter with 2,003 points, which would rank 12th among 16 postseason drivers.

Maybe Busch should seek advice from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who has already won five times this season.

With just seven regular-season races remaining, Busch better hope he can find some speed in the coming weeks. If he doesn’t, he’ll be considered just another also-ran at this year’s season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Jared Gravette at Twitter: @jared_gravette.