Kyle Busch looks for a playoff edge with pit crew swap

LOUDON, NH - JULY 15: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, tosses his son Brexton into the air in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Overton's 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Kyle Busch starts this year’s playoff, he won’t have the same pit crew that helped him to a third-place finish in the 26-race regular season.

Instead, the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion will enter the final 10 races with the over-the-wall crew that has serviced the cars of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez throughout the season.

“When you’re in a performance-based business, it comes down to performance,” Busch said on Wednesday during playoff media day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “For us and Joe Gibbs Racing, everybody in the whole organization kind of decided that it was a necessary change to give ourselves the best opportunity to go race for a championship.

“All these teams, as good as they are, you have to have all the bullets in the chamber. We felt like we were a little bit short there with the pit crew. We’ve got metrics and things like that that kind of show they were a little bit off—not far—but just a little bit. When you need it most, you’re going to need to count on those guys. That could be the last stop at Homestead. Fastest pit crew wins, hopefully.”

So was it a lack of speed or a lack of consistency that led to the switch?

“Yes,” Busch deadpanned. “Both, yes. You know, my guys, they would have speed. But the speed that they had was occasional.

“The consistency that they had was less than stellar. When you can have a faster group, and their consistency is better, there’s no question you’ve got to take that.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.