There are numerous questions about how Kyle Busch will perform in his first season with Richard Childress Racing. No one has a clear answer, but FOX Sports analyst Clint Bowyer has some big expectations.
The 10-time Cup Series winner provided his thoughts during a special episode of “NASCAR Race Hub.” He sat down with a stacked panel of analysts and discussed some important topics heading toward the 2023 season. Bowyer used this opportunity to say that the unlikely pairing could lead to big things at RCR.
“I think that this man is exactly headed in the direction that he needs to be going,” Bowyer said. “Richard Childress, you won three races last year, right, but you ain’t had a champion.
“I think that putting Kyle Busch in this car is the Dale Earnhardt driving style that he’s used to having behind the wheel. Now if they can keep their watches on and get through the end of the year, I think they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Busch Has Work Ahead of Him Entering 2023
Busch’s final three seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing did not play out as the two-time champion expected. He went from five straight seasons with at least four wins to only one multi-win season.
The 2020 season was an anomaly for Busch. He went winless in the regular season and deep into the playoffs, which led to him missing the Round of Eight. Busch finally snapped the winless streak at Texas Motor Speedway.
The 2021 season featured Busch reaching Victory Lane two times. He won at Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway in the regular season and created expectations that he would be back in championship contention. However, he missed out on the championship four after struggles at Bristol, Talladega, and Kansas.
2022 was a tale of luck for Busch. He was on the receiving end of good luck as Chase Briscoe spun out himself and Tyler Reddick on the final turn at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt). He was also on the receiving end of bad luck at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a late caution removed his opportunity to cap off a strong performance.
Luck also played a role in the playoffs as two separate engine failures ended his championship hopes in the Round of 16. The veteran had some solid performances during the remaining playoff races, but he was unable to pursue a third title.
Busch will now have an opportunity to get back to winning several races each year, and he will pursue this goal with a Chevrolet team. Will 2023 mark another major moment in his career? Bowyer believes it will.
Another Analyst Focused on Busch’s Age
There were many members of the FOX Sports panel that focused on Busch’s outlook for the 2023 season. The list included Adam Alexander, Shannon Spake, Larry McReynolds, Bowyer, and Jamie McMurray.
Bowyer was the most emphatic in his support of Busch, but McMurray also provided some thoughts on the matter while focusing on the two-time champion’s age. He pointed out how other drivers have achieved success later in their careers.
“Something to keep in mind with all this is Kyle Busch is only 37 years old,” McMurray said. “And we have seen in the past 10 years of NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick have tremendous success being that age up to around 45.
“Kyle Busch — even though he’s had a tremendous amount of success already — his best years could still be in front of him. And the one thing that he has on his side in this move — and Larry mentioned it — is the 8 car won three races last year.”
McMurray specifically mentioned that he is more optimistic about this move based on the Next Gen car. He wouldn’t have expected big things if Busch had gone to RCR during the Gen 6 era, but he has seen some progress at the organization with the move to the new car.