By Lee Montgomery
I was recently asked about some of the top stories/races of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, and it struck me just how good the seasons were for Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski. One could make the argument - and I'm about to - that their seasons were the top two in series history.
Before this year, the greatest season in series history was Kevin Harvick's 2006 campaign, when he won nine races, had 23 top-five, 32 top-10 finishes and completed all but one lap in 36 races.
You could also make a case for Jeff Green's 2000 season, or Sam Ard's 1983 season.
But Keselowski's and Busch's 2010 season's were as good - if not better.
|Driver||Year||Wins||Top Fives||Top 10s||Points||Points Per Race||Margin|
Busch set the series' record for victories with 13 this season, three more than the previous record. And he did it in only 29 races. That's. Just. Ridiculous.
Plus, he had 22 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes over that span. His points per race averages out to a second-place finish every time he started, factoring in bonus points for laps led. Again, crazy, crazy good.
But since Busch wasn't running for the championship, Keselowski win the title with an astounding season if his own. And remember, Keselowski was leading Busch in the points standings when Busch ended his full-season schedule.
Keselowski won six times but had a record 26 top-five finishes and continued his amazing running-at-the-finish streak to 102 races. Considering he had to race against Busch on many races - and with a first-year Penske Racing team - Keselowski's season takes on a brighter shine.
Harvick's 2006 season set several records at the time, including top-10s, points and margin of victory. Plus, Harvick completed all but one lap during the long season.
To me, though, Busch's and Keselowski's seasons are better. Busch's because of his incredible performance, and Keselowski's for his incredible consistency. In addition to Keselowski's six victories, he posted six second-place finishes and five third-place finishes In nearly half the races he ran, Keselowski finished in the top three. Hard to beat that.
Clearly, though, the greatest seasons in series history belong to Keselowski, Busch and Harvick. You could probably drop their names in a hat and pull out one name to be the best, but I can say I was happy to witness the three seasons first-hand.
So while Jimmie Johnson has clearly made his mark on the Sprint Cup Series, and fans should be in awe, the same could be said for Keselowski, Busch and Harvick.