Kyle Busch has not worked with his new pit crew yet

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 15: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Valvoline/ Chevrolet, (L) and Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 Cheddar's/ALSCO Uniforms Chevrolet, talk on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 15, 2023 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Driver Kyle Busch said Friday that the swap of pit crews with Austin Dillon before Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway was a collaborative decision at Richard Childress Racing that involved both drivers.

The swap, which switches all pit crew members except for the fuelers, took place because Dillon’s crew has been faster and more consistent throughout the season, said Busch, who is in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, where Dillon is not.

“If you can take a step from an ‘8’ or a ‘9‘ crew to a ‘9” or a ‘10’ type crew, you’ll take it,” Busch said before Friday’s Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I’m involved in most discussions, but that was definitely a discussion that was talked about with everybody. I wasn’t the one who was pushing it or forcing it, by any means, but made the suggestion—probably not first—but it all came together through everybody.”

Because the switch was made this week, Busch hasn’t had an opportunity to practice with the new over-the-wall crew.

“There wasn’t time this week, unfortunately,” Busch said. “My schedule didn’t allow me to get up there on Tuesday when they were doing the pit practice stuff. Hopefully, it’s a plug-and-play, and everything’s good.”

Busch, who was eliminated from the Playoffs in the Round of 16 last year, has a 24-point cushion above the current cut line for the Round of 12.

“I look forward to this year and hopefully being able to have a normal Kyle Bristol race and get out of here with some good points and move on to the next round, if not maybe a win,” said Busch who has eight victories on Bristol concrete and one on dirt.

Busch will start 15th Saturday night.