Kyle Busch has made a major impact on Richard Childress Racing since joining the team ahead of the 2023 Cup Series season. According to the team owner, he is helping build the organization back to where it used to be.
Childress made the comments on April 23 after Busch won the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. He first gave Austin Dillon credit for coming up with the idea to bring the two-time champion into the fold, and then he explained how it has been a long road to get back to the winning ways.
“I think he’s helping us build RCR back to where we want to be,” Childress said after the Geico 500. “I have to give all the credit to Austin Dillon. He’s the one that came to me, he knew Tyler was going somewhere else. He said, ‘Pop, what do you think about bringing Kyle Busch over here?’ I said, ‘I’ll talk to him if he wants to.’ We sat down, put a program together. The credit goes to Austin for bringing him on.
“Racing is like life — there’s peaks and valleys. When you get in on a peak, it’s harder to stay there. You got to be prepared when you’re at the top. We’ve been there. We’ve also been in the valley, the very bottom. You got to work harder and have the right drive and emotion to put you up to the top. That’s what we’ve worked hard to get there. It’s took a long road. It’s been a fun deal.”
This post-win press conference is not the first time that the championship-winning owner has mentioned this unique move made by Dillon. When Busch originally joined RCR in September 2022, Childress made a comment during the opening press conference about how it was all his grandson’s idea. Dillon added his own commentary by detailing his original phone call with Busch.
“Made a phone call, said, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ We just started BS’ing a little bit about his options and stuff,” Dillon explained after Busch’s introductory press conference in 2022. “I said, ‘What about coming to drive at RCR?’ He goes, ‘Heh, do you think your grandfather would want me?’
“And I’m like, ‘He just wants to win, man,” Dillon continued. “He just wants to run good, and all that stuff in the past is history. It doesn’t matter anymore.’”
Busch Has 1 Specific Area He Wants To Address
Childress has seen some major gains since Busch walked into the building for the first time. The two-time Cup Series champion, for comparison, still believes that there are some areas where the team must make progress.
As Busch explained during his post-Talladega press conference, RCR has shown great speed at superspeedways and intermediate tracks. They just haven’t exactly figured out the short tracks such as Richmond Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, and Bristol Motor Speedway.
“So just the short track stuff is really been head-scratching for sure,” Busch said during his press conference. “On my front and on [crew chief Randall Burnett]’s front. I know we’re trying to work through what it takes to turn that around. So hopefully, we can get there to make the short track stuff go our way.”
Busch’s first two trips to short tracks with RCR have not resulted in strong finishes. He crossed the start-finish line 14th overall at Richmond Raceway and 21st at Martinsville Speedway. Dillon was 25th at Richmond and 12th at Martinsville.
Addressing this pain point will be critical for RCR considering how the playoffs unfold. Richmond is not on the fall schedule, but Bristol Motor Speedway is the cutoff race for the Round of 16. Martinsville is the cutoff race for the Round of Eight.
Busch Has Delivered 2 Wins… So Far
Busch has achieved a considerable amount in his Cup Series career. He won 60 races for Joe Gibbs Racing and celebrated two Cup Series championships. Now, he has only added to this total after taking over the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
Busch started the season by nearly winning the Daytona 500. He was in the lead on what would have been the final lap, but the caution came out right before he crossed the finish line. A crash then dropped him to a 19th-place finish.
The season did not start as Busch hoped, but he quickly turned it around at Auto Club Speedway. He won the final race at the two-mile California track, and he punched his ticket to the playoffs.
In the weeks since his first win in the No. 8, Busch has added top-10 finishes at Phoenix Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. This helped him move to eighth in the points, but he will now make another significant move after celebrating his second win of the season.