How the 2020 Season Halted Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr’s Stunning Dominant Run in NASCAR

Published 01/13/2021, 10:49 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 01: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, Adam Stevens, crew chief of the #18 M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota, during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)


The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season saw two drivers dominate a major part of the season as Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin notched a combined 16 wins. However, the season also put a stop to the domination of Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr.

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That statement might confuse some, but if we take a close look at the few seasons prior to the previous one, Busch and Truex Jr produced some incredible numbers consistently.

Kyle Busch’s single-win 2020 season, where he was out before the Round of 8, was shocking as he was the defending champion. However, his consistency in the last 5 seasons leading up to 2020 is why his poor run last season was even more shocking.

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How Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. dominated the field

Since 2015, Busch has 27 Cup Series wins, leading up to the end of the 2019 season. This includes 5 wins apiece in 2015, 2017, and 2019, 4 wins in 2016, and 8 in 2018. This period also includes 2 championships, in 2015 and 2019.

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota poses with the trophy after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Homestead Speedway on November in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr also had just one win in 2020. His single-win season was shocking as it came on the back of a stellar 2019 season where he won 7 races. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate also has an impressive 24 Cup Series wins since 2015.

His run includes 4 wins each in 2016 and 2018, 8 wins in 2017, 7 in 2019, and the solitary win in 2015. Additionally, the no. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing driver is the 2017 Cup Series champion.

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 07: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As per the stats mentioned above, Busch and Truex Jr. have a staggering 51 wins and 3 titles combined from 2015 to 19. What’s more, the 2020 season was the first time since the new playoff system was introduced, in 2014, that neither Busch nor Truex Jr. made the ‘Championship 4’ race.

Will they get back to winning ways in 2021?

All these factors clearly show how well the drivers have done over the past few years. And also why their respective 2020 campaigns, where they both suffered, came as such huge shocks.

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 08: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, Erik Jones, driver of the #20 STANLEY Wish For Our Heros Toyota, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #19 AOI Toyota, pose for a photo with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trophy to start the playoffs following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 08, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Now, heading into 2021, both Busch and Truex Jr. will want to improve on their mistakes from 2020 and get back to winning ways. Busch has a new Crew Chief in Ben Beshore, while Truex Jr enters a second year with Crew Chief James Small.

They are both major stars of the sport, and their performances and numbers in recent years certainly prove that. However, Busch and Truex Jr have their backs against the wall in 2021. The question is, who will come out swinging harder?

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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