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After Kyle Busch’s Pit Woes, Grandson’s ‘Dumba** Strategy’ Rant Could Be the Panic Alarm for Richard Childress

Published 04/02/2024, 4:37 PM EDT

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Richard Childress Racing is undergoing a real-time slump this year. Both Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon are getting comfortable in the back-benchers group. Although Busch salvaged a 3rd-place finish in Atlanta and secured a top-ten spot at COTA, his other races ended in 20 or worse. Austin Dillon is following up from his disastrous season last year, his best 2024 finish being 16th place in Las Vegas so far.

And Dillon is visibly irked by the current situation. He attributed his crisis to the overall team’s woes. Kyle Busch’s pit misery is no mystery too and it may be high time for Richard Childress to solve the problem on a war footing.

Kyle Busch’s faltering pit team should be Childress’ wake-up call

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The winner of the Richmond race was determined solely by an effective pit strategy. Denny Hamlin led only 15 laps in the race, but his efficient team ensured he was in the right place at the right time. Right when a window opened on lap 398, they grabbed it, and Hamlin sailed to glory due to a quick pit stop. 

But if you look at the rear end of the pack, tensions were hiked. Austin Dillon openly slammed his team for faulty strategy, “We have dumb**s strategy every f*cking week! We’re indecisive, we don’t know what to do!” His grandfather Richard Childress chose a more passive stance, countering Dillon’s claims, “Settle down, drive the car and focus here. It ain’t doing no good talking. Just focus.”

Yet as the situation rolls on, it seems that Dillon’s words are justified. This year, Busch’s pit team has been shuffled several times. Prior to the Phoenix race, he had a new pit crew for the third time in four races. Despite the major overhaul, Busch is not doing any better in terms of track positions.

Andy Petree, executive vice president at Richard Childress Racing, dialed down ambitions to the bare minimum. “We just need a consistent crew that is not going to be making mistakes,” he said. “We’re trying to find a mixture of guys that can handle some pressure and deliver a solid performance, not stellar. We’re not even looking for stellar right now.”

Added concerns are the increased parity among cars and the availability of driver data. This puts more emphasis on the people working on pit road. “The easiest place to pass somebody else is when they’re sitting still, on pit road,” Kyle Busch said. “So we have to be better on pit road.”

Busch further detailed why a strong pit crew would save him from unnecessary penalties.

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Busch is in dire need of a good pit crew to prevent penalties

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2024 started out on a bleak note for Kyle Busch. At the Daytona 500 race, the left front tire was not secured properly, forcing Busch to drive back to the pit road. In Atlanta, a speeding penalty cost Busch any chance to score in the second stage. Then in Las Vegas, his pit team was penalized for having too many people on the track.

Kyle Busch compared this situation to his JGR experience. “So typically in years past at (Joe Gibbs Racing), we’d always have a system of — it’s the changer’s responsibility or a guy behind the wall. Like one of the pit crew support guys behind the wall just needs to start jumping up-and-down and waving … We’ve talked about some of those things to put more responsibility on more players so we cannot have the penalty exist.”

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It is high time that Richard Childress takes note of these pressing problems, as one of the most successful driver goes through a long slump in his career.

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Written by:

Sumedha Mukherjee

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Sumedha Mukherjee is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports who is known for her in-depth track analysis as well as her lifestyle coverage of Cup drivers like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Inspired by the Kiwi's journey so far, Sumedha has also written pieces on Shane Van Gisbergen, predicting how the Supercars Champion would do in the new and unfamiliar American setting. Pairing her research skills with her vast experience as a writer, Sumedha creates stories her readers can easily get lost in.
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Edited by:

Shreya Singh