Where Clint Bowyer is one of four teammates still competing for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, Kyle Busch is a lone wolf at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Daniel Suarez didn’t make the Playoffs in his final season, and both Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones fell by the wayside in the first round, leaving Busch as the only driver left to carry the JGR banner. That’s a far cry from 2016, when JGR placed all four of its drivers in the Round of 8.
In terms of allocation of resources and help from teammates, the solo status could be a blessing for Busch.
“I think (having four cars in the Playoffs) puts more strain on the shop, obviously, to have to produce more cars – more caliber cars to go to the race track each and every week,” Busch said. “Everybody puts everything into all their stuff all the time, but there’s that added motivation when you’re in the Round of 8, so I just think that compounds itself when you have to go with four versus just one.
“I think, also, when you have four guys in there, you have four that are striving to have really, really good, solid days and the teammate game isn’t necessarily teammates. It’s all about yourself all the time when you have all four in versus when you have just myself being eligible now.
“Yeah, there’s opportunity for me to get some slack cut my way by my teammates that I wouldn’t necessarily ask them to or expect them to. They obviously have to race for what they feel is right as well.”