Kyle Busch Reveals ‘Outside-the-Box Thinking’ Approach Going Into 2021 NASCAR Season

Published 01/26/2021, 7:00 AM EST
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota, stands on the grid prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch had one of his most forgettable years in NASCAR in 2020. But even such seasons teach a driver a lot and Busch learned a lot during that challenging phase, something he aims to implement in the 2021 season.

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Despite being the defending champion, Busch could not manage a single win all season, until the second but last playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Busch did learn a lot from a tough year and recently opened up on some of his biggest lessons from a challenging year. He admitted that their mindset for the most part of the season did not help the team’s cause.

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I think some of the biggest lessons learned last year is just everything of what not to do. There were a lot of things that we did with a mindset and philosophy that just wasn’t right,” Busch said during an interview.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – OCTOBER 28: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Zombie Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

What changes helped Kyle Busch earn a win in Texas?

Once they realized that, Busch and his no. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team made some changes during the latter part of the year. At Texas, the new approach worked and Busch ended up winning a race.

The 35-year-old explained his thought process during that weekend in Texas, which was also pushed ahead due to weather conditions. The key, Busch expressed, was to think differently and ‘outside the box’. To the team’s sheer delight, the new plan worked out perfectly.

“It was kind of like ‘OK, we need to think about this a little differently. Think about what we were building cars like, thinking about our setups a little bit different.’ That whole weekend, I was like, ‘We have to just throw something at it. We have to try outside-the-box thinking.’ And, lo and behold, it kind of worked out,” Busch said further.

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota poses with the trophy after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Homestead Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Joe Gibbs Racing star has a plan for the 2021 NASCAR season

He hopes to implement much more of that mindset and thought process in the new season with a new crew chief and many changes to the unit.

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“Fortunately, we won that one and now we can go into this season with a little bit more of that type of mindset,” he added.

Busch reunites with Ben Beshore, who worked with the no. 18 Cup team as an engineer. Additionally, Beshore was Busch’s crew chief for seven Xfinity Series races in 2019, and the duo won four of those.

Despite losing Adam Stevens, with whom Busch shared one of the most successful driver-crew chief partnerships, he certainly looks forward to a new and exciting term with Beshore.

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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.

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