“Anybody Has a Shot To Win” – Kyle Busch Reveals a Championship Win Awaits Beyond the ‘Derail’ Moments

Published 09/01/2023, 10:21 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

In the NASCAR world, 2023 has been a rollercoaster for Kyle Busch. After parting ways with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota, Busch found himself at Richard Childress Racing and Chevy, starting the season with a bang and securing three impressive wins. It seemed like Rowdy was on the path to greatness once more.

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The euphoria of those early victories was swiftly replaced with disappointment as the No. 8 Chevy struggled with unfavorable grid positions and frustrating DNFs. Fortunately, his early-season wins secured his spot in the playoffs, but as the regular-season finale faded into the rearview mirror, it’s clear that Busch and RCR need to step up their game to avoid their 2022 storyline.

As the NASCAR flock converged on Darlington for the playoffs’ Round of 16, Kyle Busch reflected on his championship chances amid these “derailed” moments.

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Phoenix Redemption, Kyle Busch’s quest for championship glory

In 2022, the disappointment was palpable as both Richard Childress Racing and Kyle Busch found themselves swiftly eliminated from the NASCAR playoffs during the first round. Determined to avoid a sense of déjà vu, surely the team has been hard at work behind the scenes to ensure a more promising outcome in 2023.

There’s a renewed sense of optimism emanating from Busch himself as he sheds light on their championship aspirations. He expressed confidence in their ability to contend for the title, highlighting the critical importance of reaching the championship race in Phoenix. He stated, I would say that we are going to give it a fair shot to get to Phoenix. I think if you get to Phoenix, I think anybody has a shot to win the championship.”

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Acknowledging that the first round can be treacherous, he admitted to his challenges last year with engine failures. However, Busch seemed undeterred, given his past track record and consistent results. While the looming Talladega and the tricky Roval tracks may pose concerns, the No. 8 drew encouragement from their third-place finish at the Roval in the previous season.

He said, So, is the first round easy? Look at last year; I blew up twice, so no, it’s not. But when you look at me and the results and the race tracks and things like that, the only round you look at as a concern is probably Talladega and the Roval. But last year, we ran third at the Roval.”

While he acknowledged the “derail moments” such as crashes at Michigan and pit road issues at Pocono this year, Kyle Busch also emphasized the importance of avoiding mistakes to unlock their full potential. He further added, “If we could be clean and make no mistakes, then our top 10, top 5 potential was huge.  So, I think that’s where we’ve got to really focus on right now. In these final 10 weeks, we’ve been trying the last 4 to 5 to get started on that.

Reflecting on their recent performance at Watkins Glen, Kyle Busch saw the potential for strong finishes. Rowdy noted, “I felt like we had a top 5 run going there with pit strategy and everything.” However, he also recognized that racing could be unpredictable, saying, “It was just stuff; it was just racing. It happened.”

Kyle Busch is chasing glory with the magic number 5

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While it’s easy to dismiss on-track mishaps as part of the sport, Busch knows that these setbacks, when they pile up, can spell doom for championship aspirations. A painful reminder of this came in last year’s playoffs when the Las Vegas native suffered back-to-back DNFs at Darlington and Bristol. Those unfortunate races dashed his championship dreams, leaving him bewildered and disheartened—as he candidly put it, “I’m flabbergasted.”

Unfortunately, this year has seen echoes of similar results. Despite celebrating three remarkable wins, Busch’s season is marred by a staggering five DNFs and a career-worst finish of 36th in Indianapolis. As the season progresses, Busch has set his sights on a specific goal: two more victories to round off his 2023 campaign with five wins.

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The number five evokes memories of Kyle Busch’s championship-winning seasons in 2015 and 2019, both marked by five victories.

As the season progresses, fans and competitors alike will watch closely to see if Busch can achieve his goal of five wins and potentially add another championship to his impressive racing resume. Only time will tell if 2023 will ultimately be Rowdy’s year.

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Written by:

Rashi Shetty

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Rashi Shetty is a NASCAR author at EssentiallySports. Her passion for the sport extends beyond the thrill of on-track racing, as she finds the behind-the-scenes aspects of car development and sportsmanship equally captivating. Her favorite motorsports moment of 2023 is the NASCAR Garage 56 entry at Le Mans.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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