FOX NASCAR Insider
Kyle Busch received an early begin along with his new Richard Childress Racing group, having time over the weekend to race an RCR-prepared automotive at Circuit of the Americas.
The automotive, an outdated Cup automotive repurposed to compete within the World Racing League, will not educate you a lot about something RCR has realized with the present NASCAR Cup Sequence automotive. However co-driving with Cup teammate Austin Dillon was a chance for Busch to find out how RCR runs his enterprise.
“They had been simply giving me the lay of the land [with this trip]Busch mentioned Thursday earlier than the NASCAR awards ceremony in Nashville.
Busch is considered one of two Cup playoff drivers competing for brand new groups subsequent yr, and clearly essentially the most high-profile, because the two-time Cup champion’s divorce from Joe Gibbs Racing after 15 years was one of many greatest tales in sports activities.
Kyle Busch on shifting from JGR to RCR
Kyle Busch, in announcement that he was going to Richard Childress Racing, talks about why he could not come to an settlement to remain at JGR.
The driving force he changed, Tyler Reddick, strikes to 23XI Racing, changing Busch’s brother Kurt, who missed the ultimate 4 months of the 2022 season with a concussion and isn’t but cleared to race.
For Busch and Reddick, the offseason contains some work for subsequent season that they usually would not have.
“It has been a studying expertise,” Busch mentioned. “I have been making an attempt to get a grasp on among the issues and the tradition of how they do it and do some issues. I have been making an attempt to instill a few of my concepts and issues like that.
“Low season is a relative time period. He is busier this time of yr getting all the pieces so as and planning and concepts and [putting] issues on the desk in order that once you get to the season, it seems like an ideal second the place you simply know when issues occur.”
Reddick’s group at RCR, with crew chief Randall Burnett, will work with Busch subsequent season. Burnett was at COTA to work with Busch.
Busch has already been to the RCR store a number of occasions.
“I’ve some seats within the automobiles … and seeing how their legs are completely different, their knee pads are completely different, simply issues are completely different,” Busch mentioned.
“We’re making an attempt to place the motive force consolation stuff contained in the race automotive so we could be able to go as quickly as we will.”
Whereas Burnett and Busch have by no means labored in the identical group, Reddick’s new crew chief Billy Scott left RCR after 2021 for 23XI Racing. Scott headed up RCR’s analysis and improvement division and labored with the Subsequent Gen automotive implementation, so Reddick is aware of a bit about his new crew chief.
“Billy and I’ve identified one another since he was at RCR and he spent these two years within the R&D function and giving us all of the enter for after the race. [meetings] and getting issues prepared for testing and all that,” Reddick mentioned.
“Billy and I have already got that relationship ever since. In order that’s definitely going to assist issues work out as a result of just about from the highest down, I am working with new folks.”
Reddick has needed to contractually wait a bit longer than Busch to make the transition from going to the store and dealing with the group.
“It’ll be a giant change — the way in which they do issues is just a little bit completely different than RCR,” Reddick mentioned of a group that depends on information and analytics just a little greater than different groups.
“It is actually thrilling, his method. I believe it is the best method.”
With no organizational assessments open to all groups presently scheduled for the offseason, Reddick and Busch will not have a lot time to work with their new groups on the Cup automotive.
Each plan to do a tire check in January.
Tyler Reddick on shifting from RCR to 23XI
Tyler Reddick said he was pleased that 23XI Racing and RCR were able to come to an agreement so that he could join 23XI Racing in 2023.
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Often when a star driver changes teams, the driver brings his spotter with him. But that won’t be the case for Busch and Reddick.
Derek Kneeland, who was Reddick’s spotter at RCR, will continue to work with Busch. Kneeland worked on the truck series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and his No. 51 truck, which had multiple drivers, including Busch, last season.
Reddick selected Nick Payne, a David Gilliland Racing spotter in 2022, to be his Cup spotter for 2023.
“He’s young and he’s got a lot of drive and desire,” Reddick said of Payne. “I’m excited to go through that process and that we can spend time this winter and get to know each other… We’ll sit down and spend that time together and watch the races and get going.” same page.”
Even with testing, that doesn’t do much to help the observer-driver relationship because it’s all one-car races rather than race conditions.
“We’ve been looking at the calendar and trying to figure out a date that he’s going to come down,” Busch said of the upcoming meetings with Kneeland. “And we just spent a couple of days talking and watching movies and listening to sound bites and stuff like that.
“But we did work together for a few truck races this year. And I felt comfortable with the things he was doing and saying.”
Kyle Busch on working with a new spotter
Kyle Busch hopes to go to a tire test at COTA in January to work with his RCR team. That won’t help in terms of buying time with new spotter Derek Kneeland, but Kneeland worked a few of Busch’s truck races in 2022.
Two other playoff drivers are also dealing with a bit of transition. Dillon has a new crew chief in Keith Rodden, a former Hendrick crew chief who has worked for Chevrolet in recent years. Rodden replaces Justin Alexander, who took another job with the RCR organization.
“The good part is Randall and Justin will still be in the shop and we’ll be able to continue to build on what we did last year,” Dillon said.
“Bringing in Kyle and Keith is just two more running backs. You can’t have enough running backs.”
Alex Bowman also began the transition to crew chief Blake Harris, who comes to Hendrick Motorsports after a successful one-year stint as crew chief for Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell, which followed a stint as car chief at Joe Gibbs Racing.
Harris replaces Greg Ives, who opted for a new role at Hendrick for a position with less travel.
Harris and Bowman will actually be competitors at some point during the offseason. Bowman will compete in the Chili Bowl midget nationals, while Harris, who has an impressive construction business, will work with his family’s team that has competed in the event for several years.
“I’m not going to use your shocks at the Chili Bowl,” Bowman said with a smile. “I already had my schedule set for what we’re doing… But I’m sure we’ll compare the data.”
Thinking out loud
This is the time of year that NASCAR reviews rules and policies, and one likely to receive a review is the four-race suspension for the crew chief and two team members for a wheel blown off during a race. Why the change? There have been 20 crew chiefs suspended this year, most of them for loose tires.
Among the ideas has been to park the car for the remainder of the race. Or perhaps a five-lap penalty, possibly with no free pass available, which would allow the car to continue on the track so that the team’s sponsors and guests could still see his car.
The first option removes critical team members, and we’re not talking about the team leader, who can often do much of the work from the shop and monitor events, usually from a room in the shop with engineers and screens to see more. data. than the crew chief was able to see at one time during the race.
The second option costs points on the spot, although if a wheel falls off during a race, the driver is likely to lose a lap and often not have a great finish. But it totally ruins the race that day.
The best idea is to park the car. Most off-wheel penalties come at the end of a race, when teams are under the most pressure, so there shouldn’t be many occasions where a team has disappointed guests. Everyone who goes to a race knows that sometimes a crash or mechanical failure can end the day early. This is just one of those days.
NASCAR can’t let the wheels come off because of the danger of the situation. But compared to when the four-race suspensions were instituted, it’s not like teams aren’t trying to tighten all the nuts. When there were five nuts, three or four tight was good enough and teams often didn’t even bother to tighten the fifth nut. With a single nut (NASCAR moved to a single nut in the center of the wheel for Cup cars in 2022), teams will do everything they can to fit it.
Drivers will continue to go as fast as possible. But if they leave with a loose tire, they know they’ll have to come back to the pits.
Parking a car for a race ends an already bad day, but it sends a message. Suspending crew members only keeps the story going for another four weeks and penalizes those who are just trying to get their job done quickly, without breaking any rules.
Stat of the day
Only once in 2022 has a Cup driver won a race after starting the event outside the top 20: Austin Dillon started 21st at Daytona.
they said it
“I just want to say to everyone, thank you so much for the way you’ve reached out to our family these past few weeks.” —Joe Gibbs, referring to the recent death of his son, Coy
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Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 Daytona 500, with stints on ESPN, Sporting News, the NASCAR Scene Magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrassand enroll within the FOX Sports activities NASCAR E-newsletter with Bob Pockrass.
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