KURT BUSCH (STEWART-HAAS RACING) FORD
2018 DRIVER FANTASY RANKING: 14TH
2017 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 14TH
2017 RECAP: The 2017 season could not have started any better for Kurt Busch. He won the Daytona 500 and backed it up with a 7th-place finish at Atlanta. He went into a slump on the West Coast and was only slightly above average driver the rest of the season. Busch won one pole (Texas) and had 15 finishes in the top 10. Busch only led 16 laps all season and that really hurt his fantasy value. The most laps he led in a race were 7 at Darlington. Busch made it to the playoffs but could not get past the first round.
2018 Preview: What took Kurt Busch so long to resign with Stewart-Haas Racing? It was obvious that there were no better options for him. The fact that it took until December to get a deal done scares me about his fantasy value in 2018. I have no connections to anyone in Stewart-Haas Racing but I feel there are some problems somewhere in this team. The best cure would be to go out and win a race. That is something Busch can do.
Busch will have a new crew chief in 2018. Billy Scott will move over from the No. 10 car to replace Tony Gibson on top the pit box for the No. 41 car. Busch worked really well with Gibson so it will be interesting to see how his hot temper will mesh with Scott this year. At least Scott has a lot of experience since he had to put up with Danica Patrick’s temper last year.
The best tracks for Busch are Atlanta, Richmond and Kansas. It will be important that he runs well in the spring this season. Busch is a driver who usually has hot streaks and cold streaks throughout the season. Make sure he is on your team when he is running hot and get rid of him when he cools off.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK VALUE
Kurt Busch ran well at the Intermediate tracks (1.5-mile and 2-mile ovals) last year. Busch ranked 9th in fantasy value at these tracks. My only concern with Busch at these tracks in 2018 is with the Ford chassis. The Toyotas had an aerodynamic advantage last year and the Chevys could have the same advantage in the Camaro this season. Stewart-Haas Racing was able to find speed for Kevin Harvick on the Intermediate tracks last year so now they need to do the same for Busch. If his cars have enough speed, Busch has the talent to run in the top five at any of the Intermediate tracks. I would recommend using Busch at Atlanta and Kansas for sure.
SUPERSPEEDWAY TRACK VALUE
When a driver wins the Daytona 500 you have to say he has a lot of fantasy value at the Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega). Busch had a lot of problems in the Daytona 500 but the team grinded it out and found their way to Victory Lane. I expect Busch to be a popular pick when the MENCS competes at the Superspeedways because of his recent win at Daytona. The truth is that Busch has been inconsistent at the two tracks. Daytona and Talladega are not even in his top 10 best tracks. He will only have fantasy value in Fantasy Live and DraftKings if he qualifies outside the top 20 and has a chance to score position differential points.
FLAT TRACK VALUE
Kurt Busch is not the best driver on the Flat tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, Martinsville and Loudon). Busch ranked 17th in fantasy value at these tracks in 2017. Martinsville ranks as his worst track and Loudon is in the top five worst tracks for Busch. He has been good at Phoenix and Richmond. Busch has finished four consecutive races at Phoenix in the top 13 (including a win in 2016) and four consecutive races at Richmond in the top 10. I would recommend using Busch at Phoenix and Richmond but be sure you fade him at Martinsville and Loudon.
STEEP TRACK VALUE
The only Steep track (Bristol, Dover and Darlington) where Kurt Busch has had recent success at is Darlington. Busch qualified 7th and finished 4th at the Track Too Tough To Tame last year. It was his second finish in the top six in his last three trips to Darlington. Busch has been hit or miss at Bristol. He has two finishes in the top five and two finishes outside the top 25 in his last four races at the track. Dover ranks as his 2nd-worst track so be sure to fade him because he is afraid of Monsters. I plan to use Busch at Darlington but I will wait and see how he qualifies at Bristol. Usually when he starts up front, he finishes up front in Thunder Valley.
ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE
Never count out Kurt Busch at the Road Courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen). Busch ranked 9th in fantasy value at these tracks last year. Sonoma is his 2nd-best track and Watkins Glen ranks as his 3rd-best track. Busch has three consecutive finishes in the top 10 at Sonoma and he has five consecutive finishes in the top 11 at Watkins Glen. Busch is one of the drivers you want on your fantasy team when the MENCS competes at the Road Courses.
Best Tracks to for Kurt Busch: 1) Atlanta, 2) Sonoma, 3) Watkins Glen, 4) Richmond, 5) Kansas
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