Kyle Busch Explains How He Worked on Mistakes From 2020 NASCAR Season for Success in 2021

Published 04/02/2021, 10:15 AM EDT
Homestead, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) races during the Dixie Vodka 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Busch had a season to forget in 2020, with just one win throughout the year. His start to 2021 has also not been up to the standards he has set, with just 2 Top-5 finishes so far in 7 races.


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However, every top driver has an off-season from time to time. Busch has worked on a few things and is keen to apply those learnings this year as he aims to get that win much earlier this time.

The Joe Gibbs Racing star feels that there were more mistakes that cost them heavily last season and those mistakes outweighed the positives.


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His win at Texas Motor Speedway towards the end of 2020 gave Busch and the #18 team a good idea of how to approach the 2021 season.

Some of the biggest things, more so than what we did right was what we did wrong. Trying to fix the wrongs and come up with solutions.

“I kind of think we have a better sense of that especially from our race at Texas,” Busch said in an interview with

Feb 21, 2021; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Busch opens up on his mistakes in the 2020 NASCAR season

The team had a specific philosophy and strategy going into the 550 downforce package races. However, that strategy did not work for them all year.

“We kind of had this philosophy of how to do things, build cars, and whatever for the 550 package. It just was not working for us, we were striking out,” Busch said.

Come Texas, and they changed their plans for the race. Already out of contention for the Playoffs, the team had nothing to lose and tried to do things differently. The result was a victory that kept Busch’s streak alive with a win in 16 consecutive seasons.

We completely revamped that thought process for Texas, and low and behold, we had a fast car and we won the thing. I think we’re gonna have a better sense of the 550 package races for this year,” Busch explained.

Busch trains his focus towards 750 downforce package races

This year, though, NASCAR is running lesser races with the 550 downforce package and more with the 750 package (23 of 36 races). Busch admitted that they lagged behind in those races as well, in 2020, and need to work on it for 2021.


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The likes of Chase Elliott and Joey Logano were among the fastest drivers in those races, believes Busch.

“We weren’t the best of the 750 (lower downforce package) guys that went to the race track each and every week. The 9 was certainly one of the best, the 22 was up there as another one. We were somewhere from 5th-8th,” he said further.

Mar 29, 2021; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) during the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

So far, Busch has done well in the 550 races, at Atlanta, Homestead-Miami, and Las Vegas, with Top-10 finishes in each race. However, most of the 750 races are yet to happen and it will be interesting to see how Busch deals with those races.


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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.