CREW CHIEF: Adam Stevens
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
WINS: Five (Pocono 2, Bristol 2, Loudon 2, Dover 2, Martinsville 2)
LAPS LED: 2,023
TOP 5s: 14
TOP 10s: 22
POLES: 8 (Dover 1, Pocono 1, Kentucky, Indianapolis, Pocono 2, Watkins Glen, Chicago, Loudon 2)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Busch was the winningest and most successful driver in the JGR camp in 2017. Had Martin Truex Jr. not won the season finale at Miami, Busch could have been anointed champ, given he finished second in the race and championship battle. … Busch’s 8 poles was a single-season high for him (previous high was 3 in both 2013 and 2014). … With his eight poles, Busch had the best single-season starting average of his career (7.2). … Overall, Busch has finished 1st through 4th in the final standings four of the last five seasons: 4th (2013), 10th (2014), first (2015), third (2016) and second (2017).
WHAT WENT WRONG: Try as he may, Busch just couldn’t overtake Truex for the championship. As much of a cliché as it sounds, every time Busch had a chance to draw even with Truex, the driver of the No. 78 was able to hold him off. Still, it’s nothing to be ashamed of to finish second in the championship battle. … It took a while for Busch to get going in the season, struggling to finishes of 38th (Daytona), 16th (Atlanta) and 22nd (Las Vegas).
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2018: Busch is at his best when he loses an important race by a close margin. Expect him to come back in 2018 and prove he’s a more dominant driver than Truex and potentially will go on to win his second Cup championship since earing his first crown in 2015.