After costly mistakes RCR shakes up Kyle Busch pit crew

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 02: Kyle Busch (#8 BetMGM Richard Childress Chevrolet) during practice for the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube NASCAR Cup Series race on March 2, 2024, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Gary Nastase/LVMS/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Three races into the NASCAR Cup Series season, the performance of Kyle Busch’s pit crew hasn’t matched the two-time champion’s prowess on the track.

Following pit road mistakes that cost Busch dearly last Sunday at Las Vegas, Richard Childress Racing made wholesale changes to the over-the-wall crew on the No. 8 Chevrolet.

Shiloh Windsor replaces Michael Russell as front tire changer, Michael Johnson takes Chris Jackson’s spot as rear tire changer, and Doug Warwick replaces Garrett Crall as jack man. All three new crew members are full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, on the cars of Anthony Alfredo, Austin Hill and Parker Kligerman, respectively.

All three also will continue in their Xfinity Series roles. The tire changers will have to adapt to single-lug Cup cars from the Xfinity cars, which still use five lugs per wheel.

You can forgive Busch if he isn’t thoroughly familiar with the circumstances of the changes. Warwick will be the third jack man on the car in four races this season.

“I don’t have any idea of where guys are coming from, what their background is or what their experience is,” Busch said before Friday’s practice at Phoenix.

“I always just kind of assume that the Cup guys were the Xfinity guys, so news to me. We’ll find out how good they are come around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.”

Last Sunday, Busch slid though his pit box as the tried to compensate for the pit crew’s performance. Because the crew serviced the car with the splitter barely over the line, he was penalized for pitting outside the box and relegated to a 26th-place finish.