Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch are both competing in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs this season, and there's one question on everyone's mind- which Busch brother will likely make it further? Many factors are difficult to account for, including wrecks, engine failures, and bad starting positions, but what does the raw data tell us about these two drivers?
Let's look at past performances.
The action will start on Sept. 5 at Darlington Raceway, where Kyle Busch managed a fourth-place finish in the spring. Unfortunately for Kurt, he finished 35th after an accident earlier on took him out, making this round a win for Kyle.
Then we go to Richmond for the next race in the playoffs, and things get a little more interesting. The Busch brothers finished just five spots apart when they raced at Richmond in the spring, with Kyle coming out on top again. Still, the short track factor honestly leaves both of their championship chances at risk.
Let’s do this! pic.twitter.com/Bmsq22bdY4— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) August 27, 2021
For those keeping count, this puts Kyle ahead of Kurt in two straight races and likely means he will have a sizable points lead in the process.
The next track on the schedule is the Bristol night race, marking the first time that race will be in the playoffs. Fans can expect more short-track racing and huge jumps in the points. Expect Kurt Busch, who finished one position ahead of his brother in the last Bristol race, to make up some points here and hopefully make it to the next round. Kyle should pass with flying colors, though.
That brings us to Round 2 of the playoffs and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Kurt and Kyle could both run into problems. Keep in mind that the first round is meant to eliminate back-of-the-pack cars but becomes more of a do-or-die situation as the playoff field thins out. There are only eight spots available in the next round, meaning this is where the true champions will rise. Kyle finished third in the spring here, which makes Kurt's 19th-place finish not very good in comparison.
It's no secret that Kurt Busch and Chip Ganassi Racing can't compete with a powerhouse like Kyle and Joe Gibbs Racing and that this is where the two brothers will really go in separate directions. At Talladega Superspeedway, I predict outright victory for Kyle. This will also bring us to the Charlotte roval, where we will most likely see Kurt's elimination from the playoffs barring a miracle.
While Kurt Busch did have the better finish the last time the two brothers raced there, you could argue Kyle has become much better at a road course and also has the victory from Talladega on his side as well. This ultimately means that Kurt will be eliminated in the round of 12, and Kyle Busch will be left to contend with the other seven drivers for a spot in the final four.
Believe it or not, the round of 8 is where Kyle Busch could end up doing some of his best work. In fact, between a victory at Texas last year, a victory at Kansas earlier this season, and a 10th place finish at Martinsville in the spring, he has a pretty good chance of making it through this round
In the end, Kyle Busch could potentially play spoiler in this year's edition of the playoffs. Now, that doesn't mean Kurt Busch can't rise above expectation and mark his own spot in the final 8, but Kyle is the one that can go the whole distance. He can also do so in a way that completely takes the field by surprise.