By: Ashley McCubbin
With most drivers, getting a win underneath their belt takes all the pressure off their shoulders. However, that is not the case for NASCAR Cup Series competitors.
For one, this season may be different in not one victory being enough to make the playoffs, especially since getting more than 16 winners is very well possible with 10 in 11 events. However, the looming playoffs ahead create new pressure.
Once a driver finds themselves in a viable position knowing they will be one of those 16 competitors with a chance for the title, it’s about working towards ensuring their package with their crew chief and team is better than the rest. Rather than enjoying the ride through the summer, it’s about fine tuning the pit crew, car set-up, and any factor that may be lacking.
So where does Kyle Busch feel his No. 18 M&M’s Camry could be better?
“I think one of the things is just trying to be a little bit stronger on the 750 tracks,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “I feel like we’re kind of missing just a little bit of something there. Every time we’re on one of those racetracks we blow the rear tires off about 30, 40 laps into a run. We’ve got some work to do in order to keep the rear tires underneath me, and I feel like that’s the number one thing that our focus will be for going into Darlington next week.”
To Busch’s credit, he has been successful on the track Too Tough To Tame with five top-five’s and 12 top-10’s in 18 events, including five top-seven results in the past six races. There’s also the victory he able to capture in 2008, as well.
The 750-horsepower, low-downforce package was developed a couple years ago by the sanctioning body for usage on the tracks less than a mile and a half in length. Though for 2021, it was announced it would also be utilized at Darlington Raceway for a change.
The sanctioning body has used the package on five occasions this season, with Busch scoring a pair of top-10’s including eighth at Richmond Raceway. However, as the driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry explained, they struggled with speed over the course of a long run. While running inside the top-five for the short runs, he eventually faded back to an eighth.
“It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be slippery, it’s going to be slick,” he commented. “That place is always a handful anyways, and now we’re going there with the 750 low downforce package. It’s going to be a handful for sure.”
If they can figure out the 750 package, the No. 18 could be tough to beat for the championship, as evident by being a force up front through each intermediate event in 2021 with the 550 horsepower, highlighted by the victory at Kansas Speedway.
“We have definitely gained a ton of ground on the 550 package, so I feel really good about that,” he commented. “That was definitely a push through the off-season and what we learned late last year in order to get ready for this year. That’s been a confidence booster as well as a team morale booster with many of us being able to run closer up towards the front.”