NASCAR Roundtable: Were does Kyle Busch's talent rank?

There's plenty to discuss in this week's edition of the NASCAR Roundtable.

NASCAR Roundtable: Were does Kyle Busch's talent rank?
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's White Chocolate and Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's White Chocolate
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's White Chocolate, crash
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's White Chocolate crew
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Lowe's for Pros
Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion AdvoCare Rehydrate, Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Monster Energy / Haas Automation, and Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Lowe's for Pros
Paul Menard, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford Fusion Menards / Knauf
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Cessna/McDonald's, William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Liberty University, Daniel Suarez, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry STANLEY
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's White Chocolate
Kasey Kahne, Leavine Family Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Thorne Wellness
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Fusion Monster Energy / Haas Automation celebrates his win
Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro McDonald's/Cessna
Elliott Sadler, JR Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Chevrolet OneMain Financial
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts and Bill Elliott
Ricky Rudd
Bill Elliott, GMS Racing
Bobby Labonte
Listen to this article

How impressed were you with the effort Kyle Busch had to rebound from his early spin at Bristol and do you think he's the most talented driver in the NASCAR Cup Series for this generation?

Jim Utter: Anyone with any sanity could ever question Kyle Busch's talent and time and again he continues to show why is already one of the sport's all-time greats. Busch' ability to win across all three NASCAR national series is unrivaled and it's unlikely to ever be matched. In that respect he could be considered the most talented but it's hard to dismiss Jimmie Johnson winning a record-tying seven Cup series championships and doing it in a span of 11 years. Regardless, we are going to have many more years of Busch doing remarkable things while we are likely watching Johnson's career wind down. Soon, Busch will have the limelight all to himself.

Kenny Bruce: To rally from two laps down and run third with a damaged car at Bristol was incredibly impressive. But I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Busch is one of the most talented drivers today but I’d have a hard time calling him, or anyone for that matter, the most talented. Better than Kevin Harvick? Better than seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson? As talented for sure, but better?

Nick DeGroot: The comeback at Bristol was mightily impressive and there's no questioning Kyle Busch's ability, but we must also remember that such rear-end damage with the loss of the bumper cover (sans the damage that hindered fueling) could prove to be beneficial, as we saw with Mark Martin several years ago at Martinsville. But talent-wise, Busch is without a doubt one of the best. He's an absolute wheelman and I'd name him, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson as the most talented active drivers.

Tim Southers: I remember reading an interview with NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson from several years back when he was asked if he started a race team today who would he want to drive his car and he said ‘Kyle Busch’ immediately. To me that says it all. I don’t think he’s the most talented as I feel that comes from a combination of factors, but is he among the top two or three of this generation, absolutely. His performance at Bristol last week proves that coming back like he did during the race.

With the off week coming up for the Cup Series, which team do you feel could use this opportunity to reset and make one final charge to the playoffs?

Jim: I'm not sure one week is going to make much of a difference one way or the other, but Hendrick Motorsports could use a strong final two races of the regular season to help cement their playoff positions but also to get a further uptick in performance that will prevent any of them from being among the first to be eliminated. Even now, Chase Elliott appears to be most consistent of the four Hendrick teams.

Kenny: Wood Brothers Racing, with Paul Menard for one. The team has been fast but hasn’t put together a complete race very often this season. Menard has one top-five and four top-10 finishes and is 20th in points. After 24 races last year, driver Ryan Blaney and WBR had three top-five and nine top 10s, as well as a win. He was 12th in points. Second choice would be Daniel Suarez and the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing group, a team that’s begun to make some noise of late and needs a win to nab a playoff spot.

Nick: Everybody needs this, to be honest. It allows these teams that seem set to complete in the playoffs to gather their thoughts while those on the outside formulate their final gambit in an attempt to make the 16-driver field.

Tim: I don’t know if one week off could make that big of a difference but maybe a week off will give some drivers a chance to recharge their batteries. One thing is certain, the next couple of races should be very entertaining with several drivers deseprate for a win to make the playoffs.

There was big news last week with Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne both announcing this as their final season of full-time competition. Who do you feel will be the next to possibly to call it a day?

Jim: There appears to be a lot of talk, including from his team owner Gene Haas, that regardless of where Kurt Busch competes next season, it may be his last as a full-time competitor in the Cup series. That, I assume, would be his decision then. If Jamie McMurray loses his ride at Chip Ganassi Racing and can't find a competitive replacement, I could see him stepping away from his long NASCAR career. 

Kenny: That’s easy. Morgan Shepherd! The four-time Cup Series winner and Xfinity Series stalwart turns 77 in October. Then again, he’s lasted this long. Aside from Morgan, Jamie McMurray is 42, winless since 2013 and possibly on the hot seat. If he isn’t retained at Chip Ganassi Racing, could he land a competitive ride? Would he want to start over?

Nick: I'd say Jamie McMurray as the next notable name to exit, especially if he loses his place at Chip Ganassi Racing. He's now 42 years old and hasn't won a race since 2013, but can still look back on his career with pride. He may have only won a handful of races, but among them were the 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, as well as the 2014 All-Star Race.

Tim: I agree with my counterparts that if Jamie McMurray is out at Chip Ganassi Racing after this season and doesn’t land a strong ride he could step away. I also think we could see a driver like Kevin Harvick surprise us all and step away to jump into broadcasting sooner than we all might have realized. I could see him taking Darrell Waltrip’s place today on Fox.

Bill Elliott returns to NASCAR for a one-off race this weekend at Road America in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for GMS Racing. Name one veteran driver you would enjoy seeing 'return' for one race and where would you like them to run?

Jim: Personally, I'd like to see Ricky Rudd come back "one night only" for a return trip to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Rudd had a very productive career but I'll always remember the race he won at Martinsville in September 1998. It was a brutally hot day and the cooling system in his car failed, yet he still managed to lead 198 laps, including the final 96, on the way to a victory. Afterwards, he had to do his winner's interview on his back as he received oxygen and IV fluids. He suffered burns on his back and butt. That was true grit.

Kenny: Bobby Allison anywhere. Ol’ BA always made the races interesting. David Pearson at Darlington. Nobody ran the legendary track better than the Silver Fox.

Nick: Bobby Labonte, preferably in a JGR car. They had a bit of reunion in 2016 Daytona Xfinity race, but after qualifying third, he was taken out in an early wreck. I'd like to see Labonte have one more true shot with the team he enjoyed all of his 21 career Cup wins with. And he's been staying sharp competing on the NASCAR Euro circuit this year.

Tim: My dream would be to see a driver no longer with us in Davey Allison, but for those still with us, I think watching Ricky Rudd - who still looks like he could compete and win today - would be fun to watch. Like Jim Utter said, Rudd at Martinsville or even Richmond would be a show for sure.

shares
comments
Who might NASCAR turn to for its next leader?
Previous article

Who might NASCAR turn to for its next leader?

Next article

Andy Lally: Charlotte Roval will be "insane" but fans will "love that"

Andy Lally: Charlotte Roval will be "insane" but fans will "love that"
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021