Updated 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Standings Following Kurt Busch’s Victory on a Great Day for Toyota at Kansas

Kurt Busch has long been the guy who is steady throughout the season but maybe never spectacular. He has scored 23 of his 34 NASCAR Cup Series wins in the 13th race of the season or later, and 22 of his 34 most recent top-five showings fall into that category. Those numbers are the very definition of a steady pace for 36-race schedules.

It’s been seven years since the man has won more than once in a season. But with a victory under his belt for the ninth straight season, Busch has as good a chance as anyone of joining William Byron and Ross Chastain on the list of multiple-race winners in 2022.

All he has to do is be himself.

Kurt Busch had a great day at Kansas Speedway

Kurt Busch celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 15, 2022. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Kurt Busch celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on May 15, 2022. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The duel at the end on Sunday was between Kurt Busch in the No. 45 Toyota, Kyle Larson in the No. 5 Chevy, and Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota. All deserved to be there, having combined to lead 133 of the final 143 laps at Kansas Speedway.

Ultimately, it came down to Kurt Busch, a 2004 Series winner, vs. Larson, the defending NASCAR Cup series champion, and Busch prevailed to end a 27-race winless streak. That made for a good story. The fact that it was all-time victory No. 2 for 23XI Racing was better, and seeing the car number that once belonged to Adam Petty reach Victory Lane may have been best of all.

Thursday had been the 22nd anniversary of Petty’s death during Xfinity practice, and his father spoke of how mid-May has been a “dark time” for him since. That might be a thing of the past now.

“It’s a week of hope and not a week of despair,” Kyle Petty said, according to NBC Sports. “I think when you look at it, in 20 years I’ll look back and say this is the week that changed everything.”

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10
1 Chase Elliott 475 1 2 7 3 9
2 Ryan Blaney 423 0 4 4 4 6
3 Kyle Busch 417 1 1 6 4 9
4 William Byron 415 2 3 13 4 4
5 Ross Chastain 407 2 2 12 7 8
6 Martin Truex Jr. 400 0 3 3 2 6
7 Joey Logano 396 1 1 6 4 6
8 Alex Bowman 386 1 1 6 3 8
9 Kyle Larson 376 1 1 6 6 7
10 Christopher Bell 359 0 0 0 3 7
11 Kevin Harvick 335 0 0 0 2 6
12 Aric Almirola 322 0 0 0 1 4
13 Austin Dillon 311 0 0 0 3 6
14 Chase Briscoe 300 1 1 6 2 3
15 Tyler Reddick 300 0 2 2 4 ha
16 Austin Cindric 291 1 0 5 1 2

Kansas was exactly what Kurt Busch and the Toyotas needed

Three weeks into the season, the six Cup Series Toyotas fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing or 23XI Racing had combined for two top-five finishes. These days, the manufacturer has three cars in the top 10 on the points list, and the other three moved up two spots or better over the weekend.

That’s what happens when your cars nail down five of the first six spots and six of the first 10. Kurt Busch’s brother Kyle finished third at Kansas, Denny Hamlin fourth, Christopher Bell fifth, Martin Truex Jr. sixth, and Bubba Wallace 10th.

Other than Hamlin winning at Richmond to lead four Toyotas into the top nine, there haven’t been a lot of great weeks for the brand. A week ago at Darlington, Bell drove the only Toyota in the top 20.

Still, Kyle Busch (third), Truex (sixth), and Bell (10th) all reside high on the points list at the season’s midpoint. The others still have work to do, but No. 18 Kurt Busch and No. 20 Hamlin have already won races.

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10
17 Erik Jones 290 0 0 0 1 4
18 Kurt Busch 283 1 1 6 3 5
19 Daniel Suarez 273 0 1 1 2 4
20 Denny Hamlin 267 1 2 7 2 2
21 Chris Buescher 261 0 0 0 0 3
22 Bubba Wallace 257 0 1 1 1 2
23 Justin Haley 245 0 0 0 1 1
24 Michael McDowell 245 0 0 0 0 4
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 227 0 0 0 1 4
26 Ty Dillon 222 0 0 0 0 1

Time to give Ricky Stenhouse Jr. his props

I was among the people two weeks ago speculating that the end could be near for Ricky Stenhouse Jr. As they say on the internet, that didn’t age well. In his last three outings, Stenhouse has finished second at Dover and then eighth at both Darlington and Kansas. In the process, he moved from 31st to 25 in points.

That doesn’t put him close to a playoff position, but it does move him onto the list of drivers who look capable of moving off the 2022 winless drivers list. The fact that six drivers ahead of him have fewer top-10 finishes than Stenhouse speaks to the size of the hole he dug through 10 races. He’s on our watch list again but in a good way.

Rank Driver Points Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Top 5 Top 10
27 Cole Custer 215 0 0 0 0 0
28 Harrison Burton 185 0 0 0 0 0
29 Todd Gilliland 185 0 0 0 0 0
30 Corey LaJoie 179 0 0 0 1 1
31 Brad Keselowski 176 0 0 -10 0 1
32 Cody Ware 112 0 0 0 0 0
33 BJ McLeod 79 0 0 0 0 0
34 David Ragan 61 0 0 0 0 1
35 Garrett Smithley 28 0 0 0 0 0
36 Greg Biffle 24 0 0 0 0 0
37 Jacques Villeneuve 15 0 0 0 0 0
38 Boris Said 11 0 0 0 0 0
39 Joey Hand 2 0 0 0 0 0

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