CREW CHIEF: Adam Stevens
TEAM: Joe Gibbs Racing
WINS: Five (Phoenix 1, Fontana, Bristol 1, Pocono 1, Miami)
LAPS LED: 1,582
TOP 5s: 17
TOP 10s: 27
POLES: One (Phoenix 2)
WHAT WENT RIGHT: Busch won the regular season championship and then the overall championship. Even with a 21-race winless streak sandwiched in-between his last two wins of the season, he still maintained consistency – if he couldn’t win, he worked to get the most out of his race car each time he took to the track – and never gave up. In addition, he had outstanding performances by his crew chief and pit crew, particularly in the playoffs. One other big key: Busch finally erased the asterisk associated with his first championship in 2015, when he won the Cup crown despite missing 11 races due to injury. Now, that asterisk is gone and Busch has become only the second active multi-season champion currently in the Cup Series. One other thing: Busch surpassed 200 career wins between the Cup, Xfinity and Truck series, only the second driver in NASCAR history to do so (although Richard Petty’s 200 wins all came in the Cup Series).
WHAT WENT WRONG: The 21-race winless streak left many doubting Busch could win the championship as he entered the Championship 4 finale. But despite one of the longest winless streaks of his career, Busch refused to give up or give in, most notably in a four-race stretch when he finished the regular season 37th at Indianapolis, 19th in the playoff opener at Las Vegas and 29th in the playoff road course race at Charlotte.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2020: With guys like Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, brother Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and several others in their 40s or late 30s, Busch – who turns 35 on May 2, 2020 – could be in a strong position to win several more championships as other drivers start to retire and long before he retires. At this juncture, Busch has a target on his back heading into 2020. Now it’s up to him to determine whether he can keep that target – which he welcomes – on his back.