Friday 5th: Kyle Busch works off the track at RCR

While Kyle Bush Richard Childress Racing gave their first cup win of the season last month, his biggest contribution may be how he drives the organization and RCR-affiliated teams forward.

Busch’s willingness, his observations and questions in meetings made an impact right from the start of his tenure.

“He brings things to the table for us that we haven’t had before,” Andy Petree, RCR vice president of competitions, told NBC Sports.

Austin Dillon cited Busch’s feedback as one of the areas his new teammate would bring to bear in announcing the deal with Busch last September.

“You’ll probably never have to question any feedback from him,” Dillon then said. “If he says that the cars here have problems, we’ll do it.”

Busch said he and the team discussed in January how to prepare for each event and how to bring those ideas together in their meetings.

“I raised a lot of different topics,” Busch said. “I haven’t achieved everything I want to achieve yet. Most of that is data driven and things that you get after practice or after qualifying so still driving a lot of that.”

Busch described the team meetings this season as “gone well”.

“I feel like they’ve been a little bit productive,” he said. “Hopefully those who are attending these meetings feel the same, so it felt good. I know Austin and really liked the way it is and how we set it up so it was useful to us.”

Petree, who was Dale Earnhardt’s crew chief for Earnhardt’s last two cup championships, says Busch provides more details on the car than Earnhardt.

“Earnhardt was an incredible driver, but he didn’t have the talent that Kyle has to break down so many details in the car,” said Petree. “Earnhardt went out there and got you every ounce of speed that was in there, but he wasn’t really great at providing detailed feedback.

“You had to get everything out of him. … Kyle’s just going to take this thing apart, the things you don’t even think about.”

Kaulig Racing and Legacy Motor Club are affiliated with Richard Childress Racing and all three teams clash. Kaulig Racing Justin Haley says he was impressed by what Busch did in these sessions.

“I would tell Kyle he never asks a question,” Haley said. “If he has even one thought in his head, what if or why, he’s not afraid to ask him. I really appreciate him.

“Our alliance and our organization in general drives us. He’s not afraid to say, “Hey, that’s not what we’re supposed to be doing. Hey, that’s wrong” or “Hey, that’s right”.

“I think what you appreciate about him is that he always asks why. Despite having so much experience, he still has things to learn. It pushes us all in a good direction.”

Eric Jones witnessed team meetings with Busch when both were at Joe Gibbs Racing. Now with Legacy Motor Club, Jones sees once again the impact Busch can make with a team off the track.

“He approaches meetings more like we did back then,” Jones said. “I think it was really good for the group. I think overall it’s brought in a good structure, it’s brought in good and better feedback and probably more focus on the right things that are needed, things that make the cars go really fast.”

2. Restart zone plans

Sunday’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway marks the final race in NASCAR’s five-race test with the extended restart zone. Series officials will decide after this weekend whether to keep the restart zone at its current size or revert to its smaller size.

NASCAR extended the length of the restart zone to give the leader more time to decide when to leave. In a smaller restart zone, other drivers have a greater chance of guessing when the leader will leave and catch up, limiting the leader’s advantage.

The only major incident in the restart zone occurred in Fontana, California as a leader Joey Logano waited towards the end of the zone to leave. Other cars behind guessed when he was going and then had to slow down as he still had to accelerate, creating an accordion effect that rallied nine cars.

“I don’t think this is the last time you’ll see it.” Ross Chastain said about the incident. “I don’t think it’s going to be that big, but some stack ups and some bumper tagging will still happen.”

Kyle Busch said he doesn’t think the expanded restart zone offers a huge advantage for the leader.

“I think all it did is cause this wreck in California,” Busch said. “Well, in my opinion, it’s not done differently; nothing on the positive side. It only added a negative ending because in California Joey just kept his pace and won, won, won, won and closed all of their gaps because they all tried to sit back and then stop the run.

“So he just waited for everyone to crash into everyone and then went to the end of the zone. So the later you create this zone, the more anticipation everyone will have and the more accordion effect you’ll get. I knew that when I went in and I wasn’t a proponent of extending that zone, but nobody tends to listen to me much.

Martin Truex Jr.who said he would be fine if the restart zone goes on like this, said the key is what the drivers are doing.

“They’re telling us all not to skip reboots all the time,” he said. “A lot of guys get away with it a lot more than others. As long as we can all stay closed it won’t be a problem. It gives the leader an advantage, and it should be.”

3. Reunited

The suspensions for all four Hendrick Motorsports Crew Chiefs – as part of the substantial penalties imposed by NASCAR against the teams for modifications to the hood louvers – leads to a combination of driver and crew chief reuniting.

Greg Ives will serve as crew chief Alex Bowman this weekend in Atlanta. Ives was Bowman’s crew chief from 2018-22 after working on the 10 races Bowman fielded for an injured man Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016.

Ives has been working on the Garage 56 car that Hendrick Motorsports is preparing for NASCAR to feature at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Asked last weekend if Ives had helped expedite communications between Bowman and new crew chief Blake Harris this season, Bowman said: “Things have been great. Greg has been super busy with the Garage 56 deal. I’ve seen him here and there, but not a ton. I think Greg has been really good at getting Blake ready and helping him through the transition, but he’s super busy right now.”

Although Hendrick Motorsports is appealing the penaltiesthe team decided that all four team principals would sit out this weekend’s race to count towards one of the four races to miss if they lose their appeal.

Not having a regular crew chief this weekend shouldn’t be detrimental to the Hendrick teams. There is no exercise. The cars only have one qualifying session before the race. Crew Chiefs typically have limited influence in a Superspeedway race.

4. Focused

With his move to the cup, rookie Ty Gibbs no longer switches back and forth between the Xfinity and Cup series. Last year Gibbs won the Xfinity Championship and competed in 15 Cup races, filling in for injured people Kurt Busch.

With his focus on the cup, he was able to concentrate on preparing for these events and also take some time off.

“Definitely a bit more peaceful,” Gibbs said of this season compared to last year and the running of both series. “Having a little more free time…I think it’s really important. By having more time to learn one thing, I think I’ve been able to avoid the learning curve faster than worrying about winning the championship in the other series and just being so busy.”

Gibbs can appreciate something Josh Berry makes, takes part in the Xfinity series and fills in for an injured person Chase Eliot.

“I really respect and appreciate Josh,” Gibbs said. “He’s a good friend of mine and he’s a really great racer and very talented. I’m happy for him at the opportunity and I hope Chase recovers quickly.

“But for (Berry), I think the greatest thing is enjoying the moment. It’s really hard because there’s a lot going on. You are concerned about running Xfinity and Cup. Just enjoy the moment. I think that’s the biggest thing. Learn as much as you can.”

5. Avoid history

The two races in Atlanta last year resulted in 24 cautions – including 19 for incidents.

At least 30 cars were involved in accidents in both races last year, the first year of the circuit redesign which included higher bank angles in the corners.

Both races saw at least one accident involving at least nine cars.

“I feel like Atlanta is probably the most mentally draining place we’re going to right now.” Hunt Briscoe called. “It’s kind of a hybrid. It’s obviously a full mile shorter track compared to a Daytona or Talladega, but it’s the same racing concept.

“You’re in a pack, but being a mile shorter things just happen so much faster. Your reaction time must be better. The runs are developing so much faster and faster. Your spotter needs to be able to communicate with you much faster and your brain needs to process things much faster.”

Read more about NASCAR

Kevin Harvick brings back the number 29 for the All-Star Race Kaulig Racing will appeal penalties from the Phoenix weekend Hendrick Motorsports appoints interim crew chiefs for Atlanta weekend

Friday 5th: Kyle Busch works off the track at RCR originally appeared on

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *