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Woody: Kyle’s ‘100 NASCAR Wins’ Is A Skewed Stat

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 19 2011

Kyle Busch collected his 100th NASCAR victory Saturday at New Hampshire. It came in at Nationwide car. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

A weekend story claimed Kyle Busch became “just the third NASCAR driver to win 100 races” after his Nationwide victory last Saturday at New Hampshire Speedway.

Wrong. Several other drivers have won that many races – and more.

Dick Trickle estimated he won over 1,000 races during his career. How many of those were “NASCAR” races? Impossible to say. Many short tracks around the country used to run – and some still run – weekly NASCAR-sanctioned races and it’s certain that a portion of Trickle’s wins were NASCAR-sanctioned.

Then there’s Darrell Waltrip, whose 84 Cup wins are tied for third with Bobby Allison. Darrell also won 13 Busch Series (now Nationwide) races, in addition to 67 Late Model races at Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway. That’s 164 documented wins, plus an untold number of others at assorted bull-rings around the South and Southeast.

Likewise, how many races did Allison win in addition to his 84 Cup victories? Again, no

Kyle Busch has taken 100 bows in NASCAR, but not all of them in Cup. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Erik J. Perel)

way to ever know. Bobby and the Alabama Gang used to barnstorm the country, sometimes running three or four races a week. He won his fair share – certainly enough to put him well over the century mark.

Therein lies the devilish details in Kyle’s win total. It combines his Cup victories (22), Nationwide victories (49) and truck victories (29) to come up with the 100-win figure and – according to some ridiculous accounts – nudge his name up alongside Richard Petty and David Pearson.

Petty has 200 wins, Pearson 105. All of them came in the top series. There are no minor-league victories included.

To suggest that Busch ranks third in wins behind Petty and Pearson is absurd. It’s as though he went out in the backyard, tossed around a Nerf ball, then someone tallied up his “completions” and claimed that they ranked third behind Favre and Marino.

Granted, winning a Nationwide race or a truck race isn’t easy. But it’s no harder than some of the Late Model and Sportsman victories earned by Waltrip, Allison, Trickle, Jack Ingram, Butch Lindley, Sam Ard and other old-timers. For some 30 years I covered those Saturday night battles. They were outright wars. I guarantee you, the competition was as tough as anything we see in today’s second- and third-tier series.

This is not to suggest that Busch is not a great driver; at 26 I consider him the best

Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip. Kyle Busch is not quite in their league yet. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

currently on the track in terms of sheer talent/gritty competitiveness.

And each of the three numbers is an accomplishment unto itself: Busch’s 49 Nationwide wins are tied with Mark Martin for most all-time. His 29 truck wins make him the most dominant driver in the series’ history in ratio of races entered/won. And his 22 Cup victories are extremely impressive for such a short period in the sport – and he’s only getting started.

I don’t want to take anything away from Kyle; what he’s done is incredible. At the same time I don’t want to give him anything he hasn’t earned, that that includes the absurd comparison to Petty and Pearson and moving him ahead of Waltrip and Allison in wins.

Busch’s minor-league victories can’t be bundled with his major-league victories. If someone wants to play that statistical game, then they must likewise include all the wins of drivers like Waltrip and Allison – not to mention Trickle and other great short-track warriors – whose combined totals far out-rank Busch’s.

Kyle’s 22 Cup victories put him in a tie for 28th with Terry Labonte and a long, long way behind Petty and Pearson. When he gets 80 more Cup wins, then we can start talking big-boy records.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 19 2011
14 Comments

14 Comments »

  • Albert says:

    Most stories I’ve seen about KB and 100 includes the words “national champion series” between the words “100″ and “wins.” KB has repeatedly said he’s not about to compare his 100 to Richard’s 200 or David’s 106. I’m sure some stories have neglected to point out the distinction, but he’s never neglected to point it out. And comparing stats from backyard pickup football games to the NFL is too silly for words.

  • Gordon A says:

    Interesting artcle? To who? Not me. I’m 71 and I know enough about racing to realize that this story is wasting my time………Sincerely,

  • Matt says:

    Thank you to the author of this article for having some sense and hitting the nail on the head.

    Shrub is one of the best drivers out there right now, and possibly one of the best that has ever been.

    But blowing up the Nationwide series and the Truck series is not going to win him a cup title.

    I’ve tried to find out how many races guys like Bobby Allison won in the old Grand Touring series, but the stats just aren’t easy to find online. I know he won at least the one race against cup cars with his Grand Touring series Mustang (with a small block against big-block cup cars no less!), until we’re adding in those wins to a total, Kyle’s 100 wins just doesn’t mean squat. If you really want to make something look impressive, Richard Petty retired with 712 top tens. That’s right, 712 times out of 1,184 that he got in the car, he came home in the top ten. (That’s 60% of his starts resulting in a top ten finish!)

  • oldnascar says:

    How come the news only talks about KYLE’s total wins? they seem to never add up any other drivers total winds.How manay total wins does Mark Martin, Darrell Waltrip, Dale SR have( lets count the 125 races at daytona too those should count as a win). WHEN Kyle gets 50+ cup wins then we will talk. but adding 2nd and 3rd tier race wins does not impress me.

  • Terry says:

    Kyle Busch is tied with Terry Labonte with 22 cup wins.
    He is NOT in the Petty or Pearson world.
    One can question some of Petty’s early wins if they want to split hairs……..but PLEEEEEEZZZE……..do not ever put him in the same sentence with DAVID PEARSON…..( all quality wins )
    The Silver Fox has 3 CUP championships running part time Kyle “zip”
    Pearson won CUP races at an 18.2 % clip….Kyle..less that 1% .09
    PEARSON….was…STEVE McQUEEN……Kyle..is..Pee Wee Herman.

  • Wayne T. Morgan says:

    That’s great for Bush, but how about Richie Evans? How many NA$CAR races and titles did he win? There are a lot of Pro’s who have won over 500 races in their type of car. Beat the double “P’s” and then he will have done something. Oh and take away his “high dollar” rides and how will that work?

  • john says:

    Couldn’t agree more that the “statistic” is very overhyped. To play devil’s advocate though–while Petty’s 200 wins were all at the Cup level, they all came during an era when only 5-6-7 cars in the field were capable of winning on any given Sunday. Compare that to the modern Cup field where 30 could win.

    Having said that, MOST of Kyle’s wins are in Nationwide and Truck, where he has, at best, 2-3 others capable of beating him when he shows up. Racing either with a Cup team (in NWS) or a pseudo-Cup team (in Trucks), those wins aren’t even remotely close to what Richard Petty accomplished.

    This is NASCAR’s halfassed attempt to find SOMETHING interesting to talk about over the last few years, and it’s failing.

    • just me says:

      You act like all Richard Petty’s CUP were wins like today’s wins. They were not. Many were easy no-brainer wins like taking candy from babies. Read the history reports. None of Kyle’s wins were as easy as some of Petty’s.

      RP won a race with only 17 other competitors & then 2 days later went to Winston Salem & won a race with only 11 other competitors, this happened many, many times & these counted as cup wins, these were races with regional drivers who couldn’t wait for the race to come to their town so they could compete. RP only won 54 of your 200 races in which there were 36 or more competitors. Kyle goes up against 43 cup, 43 Nationwide & 36 Truck competitors (skilled professionals) every race. Richard Petty only had 8 wins in which the field had 43 or more drivers.

      Kyle never competed against only Local Yokals for his 100 wins. How can you call it a Cup win against local guys? That’s silly. So Petty’s 200 has its questionable stats too if you’re going to say that about Kyle’s wins.

  • dave says:

    Kyle said so himself that he isn’t trying to tie any other driver. He set a goal what he wanted. It’s the media that started this crap.

  • john hickson says:

    Finally someone has stepped away from the Kool-ade dispenser and is talking sense as it relates to kyle bush

  • kac says:

    If it’s a skewed statistic in your mind, then why are you giving it print? I am a huge Kyle Busch fan because I appreciate that he is the best driver in the NASCAR series hands down. It is, however, you and your peers that beat the drum to death – either praising the kid or beating him up over his goals. Try this, keep your pen quiet about Busch and find something else to write about.

  • robert says:

    Although I find him to act like an arrogant, petulant child most of the time, I agree that Kyle Busch is an extremely talented and outstanding driver. One of the best we’ve seen. However, I can’t help but think that his obsession with beating up on mostly lesser funded teams in the lower two series to increase his total wins and boost his ego hurts his CUP effort. At the same number of CUP races run as KB has run, Jeff Gordon had already surpassed 50 CUP wins (including 13 wins and 26 top 5s in a 33-race 1998 season – how’s that for percentages), won 3 of his four CUP championships, and was winning one out of every four CUP races he entered. Yes, KB is a great driver, but when you compare him CUP to CUP against a contemporary, he has a long way to go before talk of breaking records.

  • Joe says:

    I agree 100 percent and have since the TV folks started talking this nonsense.

    I give Busch all the credit in the world for his driving ability and wouldn’t be shocked if he did challenge for 100 Cup wins before his career his done, but to combine series wins to get there doesn’t fly.

    If you’re going to do that, you have to count Waltrip and Earnhardt’s wins in the Busch Clash, Winston, Twin 125s, etc.

    I don’t even object to them touting Busch for having 100 wins in the three top series. It’s factually accurate. Just don’t try to wedge him in the conversation with NASCAR’s Mount Rushmore, yet.

  • scorer27 says:

    As usual Larry you are on the money. Kyle Busch is currently the baddest of the bad in anything he drives BUT lumping all his victories together is not only misleading but it is kind of disrespectful to all of the other great drivers who have been part of the show for so many years.

    Cup wins are Cup wins, Nationwide wins are are Nationwide wins and Truck wins are Truck wins but they are NOT all at the same level of competition.

    NASCAR gets carried away with their PR drivel sometimes and this is one of those times. A million years ago I read an article in Stock Car Racing magazine about Motor Racing Network and the theme of the article was “Play it for what it is.” It’s a good show, it’s a good event and the stars of the sport are heroes but don’t exagerate or mislead people….don’t turn it into WWE on Wheels. That is what they are doing when they hype bogus stats.

    Kyle Busch is great and he is great in all 3 series but keep the numbers accurate and fair.

    Don’t get me wrong, love him or hate him, Kyle Busch is amazing. If you ever get to see him in a Late Model at your local short track it’s worth the price of admission!