Now that Kyle Busch is back, what will it take for him to be in the top 30 in points and be eligible for the Chase if he wins a race?
He’ll have 15 points races to do so – unless NASCAR grants him a waiver.
NASCAR did not announce Tuesday if it will grant Busch a waiver. When asked last month about a waiver for Busch, NASCAR Chairman Brian France said “more likely than not we’re going to try to figure out out how to accommodate him.’’
France also said that the injuries Busch suffered after hitting an unprotected concrete wall in the Feb. 21 Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway “was on us. You can’t run around say that safety is your No. 1 priority and get that stuff wrong.’’
That could indicate that NASCAR is willing to not only waive the requirement that a driver must have attempted to qualify for every race to be Chase eligible but also the requirement that a driver be in the top 30 points if they win a race before the Chase to be eligible.
If NASCAR does not waive the top 30 requirement, here’s what Busch could be facing – provided he wins a race.
Last year, David Gilliland was 30th in the standings after the September Richmond race with 407 points. Over the past four years, the average point total for 30th place in the driver standings is 420.8 points. Factoring that, Busch would need to average a 16th-place finish to be in the top 30 when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins in September.
Tony Stewart is 30th in the points at the Sprint All-Star break with 179 points in 11 races (an average of 16.3 points per race). If that pace continues for whoever finishes 30th in the points before the Chase begins in September, they would have 423 points. Busch would need to average a 15th-place finish to reach the top 30 in points
Here’s a look at the career average finish for Busch at each of the remaining events. (Average is for that specific race, not all races if track hosts two races a year.)
Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte) – 19.9 (0 wins)
Dover I – 12.8 (2 wins)
Pocono I – 15.2 (0 wins)
Michigan I – 15.5 (0 wins)
Sonoma – 20.9 (1 win)
Daytona II – 15.9 (1 win)
Kentucky – 4.5 (1 win)
New Hampshire I – 11.5 (1 win)
Indianapolis – 10.6 (0 wins)
Pocono II – 22.3 (0 wins)
Watkins Glen – 11.3 (2 wins)
Michigan II – 22.2 (1 win)
Bristol II – 11.5 (2 wins)
Southern 500 (Darlington) – 13.6 (1 win)
Richmond II – 10.3 (0 wins)