Rick Hendrick Insider Fuels Kyle Busch’s Flaming Misery With Massive Michael Jordan Prodigy Claim

Published 10/03/2023, 7:31 AM EDT

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Richard Childress Racing had the perfect solution to recreate the glory days of the Intimidator. Sign in the racer with the most wins in the modern generation. Kyle Busch stayed true to his reputation and promptly provided three wins to them this year. But as they dreamed of a 7th Cup championship after nearly three decades, Busch’s playoff performance awakened them with a jolt.

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Now, as the #8 driver is sitting at the bottom of the current round of 12 standings, he faced 11 powerful defenders on his way to the goalpost. Including former RCR driver Tyler Reddick. Kyle Busch replaced Reddick at the end of last season, a decision that ultimately benefitted the legendary Michael Jordan.

Hendrick Motorsports’ insider left only option for Kyle Busch at Roval

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When the championship contenders fretted over the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, one driver was secured in his win on the racetrack earlier this year. Admittedly, Kyle Busch had a less-than-ideal average finish of 20 on the fierce racetrack. But he alleviated those fears when he won the Geico 500 in April. NASCAR analysts laid their stakes on him over three of the Top 5 positioned drivers in the race this weekend. Including the racer atop the playoff throne at the moment, Hendrick Motorsports‘ William Byron. Whereas the #24 driver turned out to be the runner-up in Talladega, Busch started and finished in the 25th place. Rick Hendrick’s former crew chief foresaw troubled waters ahead for the seasoned racer.

Steve Letarte expressed grave concerns about the nearly insurmountable 26-point gap of the RCR driver. Particularly on account of the winded terrains at the Charlotte Roval in the elimination race this weekend. Even though three other drivers were below the cutoff line along with Busch, Letarte spelled out a key difference between them.

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For instance, both drivers of Jordan‘s 23XI Racing team languished below the cut line. However, the #23 driver, Bubba Wallace, could explore the option of accumulating stage points to qualify. And #45 Tyler Reddick merely had a two-point barrier and a road course expertise as an additional strength. On the other hand, the only recourse available for Kyle Busch was victory.

Letarte emphasized, “I think Kyle Busch at the bottom, is going to have to be thinking, must win. There are too many names above him to find 26 points. But then you start looking above him. Bubba Wallace is probably thinking, pointing his way in. Maybe not a win there. I think what scares everybody is Tyler Reddick. The first driver below the cutline. It’s a driver that has shown real speed at the road courses. Maybe not at the roval specifically, but at some point you would think this is going to have to spill over to the roval with the pace that he finds at the road courses.”

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Interestingly, Tyler Reddick was replaced with Busch by the Richard Childress team at the end of last year, precisely to capitalize on the playoff season.

Rick Hendrick may unfortunately have to eat his ambitious words from earlier this year

The racing prowess and innumerable accolades of Kyle Busch are indeed undeniable. But when the former Joe Gibbs Racing driver left his longstanding team to join RCR, there was renewed interest in his performance this year. His #8 car, then occupied by Reddick, won three races last year and two of them were road courses. On the contrary, Busch counted the Bristol dirt race as his sole win of the season and finished 13th on the final standing, one place above Reddick.

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Undoubtedly, this year’s three wins overshadowed that performance but where Jordan’s impeccable find Reddick was feared for the upcoming race, Busch could not recreate the regular season’s flair after qualification. The #45 driver could boast of one win and one runner-up position in the same playoffs where Busch has a single Top 10 finish. At this juncture, it would be prudent to recall the words of team owner Richard Childress himself. After Busch’s win at Auto Club Speedway this year, a pleased Childress highlighted the reason for their alliance with the #8 driver.

He admitted, “Who wouldn’t want Kyle Busch to drive for him, the guy’s won over 200 races two championships. He is a champion for sure and that’s our goal this year is to go after the Championship. But you know…we didn’t have all the sponsorship put together. But I was willing to put whatever it took to make this happen.”

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How would Busch fare on the 78-year-old veteran’s expectations? Would he present him with a rival win or fall short in the face of Reddick’s road course record?

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Written by:

Parika Singh

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Parika Singh is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. Her combined love for writing and motorsports drew her to the world of sports journalism, where she fell in love with the thrill, unpredictability, and charisma of covering racers and race tracks. She especially looks out for the #5 Chevrolet of Kyle 'Wheelman' Larson, because of whom, she holds a soft spot for the 2021 season where he emerged as champion.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh

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