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Monday, January 28, 2013

Time has come for Kyle Busch to live up to expectations and contend for Cup title

To say Kyle Busch has potential to be one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time is an understatement. He's already won a ton of races across all the major series, and he's very, very young.

He has a long career ahead of him, and will certainly continue winning many, many races along the way.

The question remains though: Can he compete for a championship and actually seal the deal.

Historically, he's had some great years in the regular season, then falls to pieces once the Chase begins. In 2012, his fumbling began even before the Chase, and he just missed making it (just as well, as he wouldn't have been much of a factor).

So here we are, in 2013, and Kyle Busch has officially signed a long-term deal with Joe Gibbs Racing. It's clear they like him, know he is a potential multiple champion, and don't want anyone else to have him.

So now that his future is set -- one thing is clear: Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing need each other to step up if they're going to be legitimate title contenders.

Here's how Busch needs the Gibbs team to step up: They need to make sure they give him equipment that will last. Too many times in the past, Kyle has had an awesome run going and then blown up or had another type of mechanical failure. You can't win titles that way, and you especially can't make those kind of team mistakes in the Chase races.

Here's how the team needs Kyle to step up: He needs to continue his emotional maturing process and stay focused on the goal of winning a title. He clearly has the talent, but the  knock on him has always been that he doesn't have the discipline. He needs to avoid distractions and off-track nonsense (suspensions, fights, etc.) and keep his eye on the prize.

If he has the proper equipment, and the proper focus, and of course some luck, there's no reason he can't still be in the hunt for the Sprint Cup title come Homestead.

Joe Gibbs Racing knows this; and that's why they locked him up long-term. You don't want a race against a guy of his talent level.

Time will tell if he and the team can put all phases of the game together properly and earn JGR their first title since Tony Stewart won in 2005. But in a year where there is no clear favorite to win the Cup, the ball is in their court.


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