Do the Math: Kyle Busch Not Closing in on Richard Petty’s Record

This weekend could be another huge one for Kyle Busch at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where, in each of the last two seasons, he’s swept the Brickyard 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and the NASCAR XFINITY Series race.

Between the two series, Busch has five race victories and three runner-up finishes at Indy, consistently showing impressive results in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.

If Busch should happen to win one or both races this weekend, somebody will certainly say he’s closing in on Richard Petty’s career total of 200 victories.

Except he isn’t. And that’s no disrespect to Busch. None at all.

Busch is one of the best NASCAR drivers of this or any generation. He has won championships in two series, and he’s won 175 NASCAR Touring Series races — 38 in the Cup series, 89 in XFINITY and 48 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Those are huge numbers, and they will make Busch a first-ballot lock for the NASCAR Hall of Fame after he retires.

But they aren’t Richard Petty numbers.

Petty won 200 races in what is now the Cup series.

Let that number sink in for a minute. Two hundred Cup wins for Petty, 38 for Busch.

Again, no disrespect to Busch and his phenomenal career, but he’s chasing 200 victories across three series. Fact is, 137 of Busch’s victories came in NASCAR’s minor league series.

All 200 of Petty’s victories came in the big leagues.

Not. The. Same. Thing.

When Barry Bonds was chasing the Major League Baseball home-run record, did anyone add in the dingers he hit with the Prince William Pirates of the Carolina League in 1985 or the Hawaii Islanders a year later?

Of course not.

Busch is a great racer and a great champion.

But unless and until he wins, oh, maybe 150 more Cup races, he’s not chasing Richard Petty’s record. The numbers don’t lie.

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By Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.