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Kyle Busch was widely regarded as the title favorite heading into the 2019 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series season.
It wasn’t exactly hard to see why.
Busch had just matched his career-high of eight wins in a single season.
The Joe Gibbs driver had finished second in the regular-season standings, only two points behind teammate Truex.
His campaign in the playoffs had some ups-and-downs, winning two races but also finishing outside the top 10 three times.
Even so, with a win in the penultimate round at Phoenix, Busch secured his place in the Championship Four for the fourth consecutive season.
After battling for the win at Homestead, he dropped down to fourth during the final restart and finished there both in the race and in the standings.
His strong regular season performances and his consecutive appearances in the Final Four naturally made him a strong pick.
Busch solidified that with a dominant start to the 2019 season.
He scored three wins and captured another three top 3 finishes in the first eight races of the season.
But now, 30 races into the season, he looks less and less like the title favorite.
Where: Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL
When: Sunday, October 13th at 2:00 PM EST
How: NBC (TV) | Motor Racing Network (Web radio) | NBC Sports App
— Noah Lewis (NASCAR Writer) (@Noah_Lewis1) October 5, 2019
Since we are only four races into the playoffs, it could be said that it’s too early to rule Kyle Busch out of the fight.
But despite his dominant form, especially early in the regular season, history points out that another championship seems unlikely.
What we are currently observing is a common trend during Busch’s career.
It’s easy to forget that, throughout most of his career, #18 has been known to underperform when it matters.
His first postseason win only came in 2015, 11 years after the format was established.
Quite ironically, it came in the season finale at Homestead and secured Busch’s first career championship.
Busch’s postseason form did improve in recent years.
Despite not winning a race again in 2016, he went to the Championship Round after matching his career-high with six top 5 finishes.
Busch scored three wins in 2017 and another two last year, finishing second and fourth in points respectively.
At first glance, it’s easy to say that Busch looks like a fairly tempting pick.
But once we take a more detailed look at the situation, that’s not necessarily true.
This, combined with his odds, make Busch into a bit of a high-risk, low-reward bet.
While he shouldn’t be counted out of the championship fight just yet, there are some much better options to choose from.
Right now, he has gone winless in the last 16 starts.
Unless Busch shows improvement and returns to his early-season form, he looks less and less like a championship contender.
The latest odds for the Cup Series Championship Winner are provided by 888Sport NJ.
|Top 3||888Sport NJ
|Martin Truex Jr.||+400|
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