The last time a driver went back-to-back in terms of NASCAR Cup Series championships was Jimmie Johnson during his five year reign from 2006 through 2010. In the nine years since, seven different drivers have all won titles. Johnson (2013, 2016) and Kyle Busch (2015, 2019) are the only repeat winners in that time frame.
Furthermore, since 1995, Jeff Gordon (1997, 1998) and Johnson (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) are the only ones to earn back-to-back Cup titles.
Kyle Busch was hoping to be just the third driver in the last 25 years to do so this season. Unfortunately, following a strong opening half of the year, he doesn’t necessarily look like a legitimate championship contender anymore. Yes, he has a top seven of every playoff race run thus far, but he’s also nine points below the cut line too.
Busch though shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the Round of 12 could be the place where his title hopes are dashed as well.
Busch, finished 10th at Talladega back last April (2019) but that and two top five finishes in the 2016 and 2017 spring races are the only top 10 finishes he’s had on the 2.66-mile oval since 2014.
His last six playoff races at Talladega have seen him finish – 40th, 11th, 30th, 27th, 26th and 19th respectively. With Toyota’s struggling with the tapered spacer package, I don’t expect much out of Busch on Sunday which could really hamper his chances of advancing to the second round.
He finished sixth last Sunday in Las Vegas to put him (-9) in the playoff standings.
Toyota also has just one Dega victory since 2009 and only three overall. Busch, may need a mulligan this weekend but he doesn’t have the luxury to do so this season compared to the past. He was 32nd in the spring race.