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HMS Legend Backs Kyle Busch as He Highlights RCR’s Shortcomings in 6 Words

Published 09/26/2023, 5:43 AM EDT

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Rowdy has had a rough week. After Sunday’s race at Texas, Kyle Busch finds himself in the bottom 4 of the pool. While the community is aware of what Busch can supply on his day, his worsening fortune is a reason for concern. With two races left for the list of the final 8 drivers to be finalized, he needs to amp up his preparations to see this obstacle through.

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With that being said, fans and experts have also felt that ever since the kick-off to the playoffs, Busch hasn’t been his usual self, which is brimming with confidence and fighting to take the lead on every turn of the race. Former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief and NASCAR legend Steve Letarte is a vocal supporter of Kyle Busch, as he has previously stated. Looking at another slump, he has some words of advice that could turn around the #8 driver’s fortunes.

Letarte wants Kyle Busch to get more aggressive


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When NASCAR put elimination rounds into the playoff system, the officials were aware of the awkward situations it could create for many big names over the years. Chase Elliott was one of the major drivers to face the axe in the regular season. Former champions Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano also fell out of the top 12 at Bristol, creating big voids in the grid. Letarte believes that if Kyle Busch wants to avoid a similar fate, there is still enough time to salvage his season.

“I don’t think anyone on the leaderboard is in a must-win situation.” said the HMS legend, speaking on Motorsports on NBC. “Now, I will say I think Kyle Busch could be more aggressive early. I think he can make those drivers uncomfortable because it’s easy to say you want a smooth day and tell everyone around the cut line [to] finish in the top 5 of stage 1 and top 5 of stage 2 and start filling their buckets. That will bring the anxiety level up.”


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Busch and his pit crew have cruised to a win 3 times this season already. Despite that, the Richard Childress Racing driver has found it tough since the latter stages of 2023 to get close to a podium finish. What has changed for them is a different matter altogether, however, Letarte has an idea about what needs to change from Talladega. He stated:

“To predict what’s going to happen at Talladega, it’s impossible you really need to kind of ignore it all. You need to work on having a good driving race car, a good strategy, and empower your driver to make decisions.”

Feedback from Busch will be paramount for setting up a system that they can bank on in such times.

Busch was saddened by his slump

Being a two-time Cup champion, Rowdy understands what needs to be done to achieve their final goal. Being in a position of no return is still two races away. An avid follower of the sport would hope Busch to stand strong as his season lands into dire straights. But he had an entirely different reaction to his situation instead and it is not looking good for Busch fans.

At Texas, he spun and hit the wall hard on Turn 2 which turned out to be disastrous for him. After aiming to fight for a top 5 position in the first laps, he was forced to make an early exit that translated into a 34th-place finish for him.

Elaborating on the setback at Texas, he said, “A complete let down to my team right now, not being able to get the results that we need. Every time I try, I crash and now it’s like the less I try the more I ride around, the better day we have.”


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When asked about how his chances of returning to the qualified list with a win at Talladega looked like, he replied, “Not very good. We’re gonna go there and fight as hard as we can and run hard. RCR has a strong restrictor plate program, so that’s all we can do.”


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Unless Rowdy decides to bring on his best form, making it to the round of 8 looks like an impossible task. The 39-year-old will be hoping that won’t be the case certainly.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek


One take at a time

Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.
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Edited by:

Sharan Nair