Kyle Busch didn’t have the best car in this past Sunday’s Food City 500 at the Bristol (Tenn) Motor Speedway. Despite that, he still put his No. 18 Toyota in victory lane at the end of the day. It just goes to show you that he, nor his crew chief Adam Stevens, are going to be complacent moving forward.
It would be easy to though.
When Busch won his first race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season at Phoenix last month, the victory automatically placed him into the playoffs. How much motivation do they need to win during the rest of the regular season?
They could pack it in and focus on putting the best race cars available for the playoffs. Forego winning races in the regular season and start spending more time preparing for setups for the playoff races.
That’s not the way they think at Joe Gibbs Racing though. See, they say that the way stage points are awarded and how you get five playoff points per each win in the regular season, it gives them a big amount of motivation to keep rattling off win after win.
“Well, I don’t see Kyle (Busch) or Adam (Stevens) being complacent, I really don’t,” said team owner Joe Gibbs. “I think they’re driven. I think our Playoff system, the way it is right now, I got to tell you, I think it’s great that we have segment racing. Those points can carry over. If you are really after it, like they are, then you could wind up with enough points, that’s the goal, wind up with enough points that it can really carry you into the Playoffs.
“It’s a big deal for us. I think our guys, they’ll continue to fight. Everybody knows how competitive it is up here. It’s hard to win. Each one of these you really cherish. I think the point thing is huge for our racing now that we have segment racing. I think it keeps everybody up on the wheel.
“I just think you never get complacent in pro sports. Certainly we don’t I know around our place. It’s so hard to stay up there. That’s the hardest thing in pro sports. It was the hardest thing in the NFL. It’s the hardest thing over here
“These race teams here are the most competitive racing teams in the world. They come bouncing back. So I don’t think he can afford to get complacent. I think our group, I know they’re going to work hard.
“I appreciate everybody back at the race shop. I think Kyle and Adam will both tell you we have people there that are super competitive, working extremely hard. We try to put banners up on Tuesdays and Mondays, honor them, get them in there.
“I think our whole team, you win with your people. I think we got great people. I really appreciate that. The Lord has blessed us with a bunch of great guys. They’re very competitive and smart.”
Stevens, agrees. He even takes it to how much time they spend away from their families each week and they want to reap the benefits of that each weekend.
“I don’t think complacency is in my vocabulary or Kyle’s vocabulary or anybody on this team that I’ve hired. I can tell you that,” said Stevens. “If there’s a trophy and a checkered flag, we’re working 80 or 90 hours a week, away from our families for three or four days a week, we don’t come out here to ride around. We get paid to win. Coach gives us the equipment to win. We have Kyle Busch driving our car. That’s what we intend to do.”
Busch, has won three times in all this season including all coming in the last five weeks. He’s also off to a dream start to the season in scoring seven top six finishes in the first eight races with a worst finish being 10th in Texas.
Now, he heads to a track to where he swept both races last year at Richmond. He’s also won five of the last nine spring races on the .75-mile Virginia oval to go along with 11 top five finishes in 13 spring race starts at Richmond. Furthermore, he has eight top two finishes in that same time frame.
Be ready for a possible dominance out of Busch on Saturday night.