Not Ready Yet

Last year about this time most of us geniuses were engraving Kyle Busch's name on the Sprint Cup championship trophy. Mind you this was with three races left in the regular season and the entire Chase schedule yet to run.

Well we all know that that turned out.

Which is why I'm hesitant to do the same for Tony Stewart, who has clearly had the best regular season of any driver and will head into the Chase as certainly a co-favorite to win the title.

However I feel more secure about leaning toward Smoke taking a third championship this year than I did about Busch's chances last season, or even in 2009 if he indeed makes the Chase.

There's a big difference between the two, most notably the fact that Stewart has won two championships and knows exactly how to get to the big prize at the end of the effort.

I don't see that same attribute in Busch.

This is not an indictment on the talent of Kyle Busch by any means. He can drive a racecar like few before him and has proven nearly on a weekly basis getting to victory lane is his only goal and that no matter what kind of car (or truck) he's piloting, that happens on a fairly consistent basis.

But we all know that taking as many checkered flags as possible is not the recipe to win a Cup title given the system used to determine the champion.

Consistency is still the biggest factor in the title equation. Winning one week and finishing 38th the next won't get a driver anywhere near the head table at the banquet in Las Vegas.

Where as Stewart, and previous title winners like Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch, possess the ability to make proverbial lemonade out of lemons on any given day and turn a potential disaster into a decent finish, Busch still carries the win at all costs mentality.

How many times have we seen Johnson and Chad Knaus come back from being non-factors in a race or many laps down to not only challenge for the win before it was all said and done or at the very least notch a "how did they do that" top ten finish?

I can't remember a time when Busch overcame adversity in the way of a pit road miscue, mechanical problem or early race accident and post a comeback decent finish.

Wednesday night's truck series race was the perfect forum for Busch to do what he does best. It was a short, fast-paced run with your hair on fire event that suits Busch's style perfectly.

It's not that way in the Cup Series and literally impossible to maintain such a pace for 500 laps or miles.

I've yet to see Busch be able to change his approach from how fast I can get to victory lane to let's get out of here with as many points as possible and nothing has shown me he's ready to do that anytime soon.

Until he does he'll continue to be a threat to cross the finish line first every week but is not on my championship radar.

I think he'll eventually get there but there's still a great many lessons to be learned.



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NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2009

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