Busch to get three new RCR crew members again at Phoenix

Kyle Busch will have three new pit crew members going over the wall to serve his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet beginning Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

Shiloh Windsor is the new front tire changer with Michael Johnson the new rear tire changer. Doug Warrick is the new jackman.

The NASCAR Cup Series season is three races old, but it’s not the first change Childress has made for Busch’s No. 8 team. It’s been a struggle on pit road between execution from the race team and Busch having issues in his stall or speeding.

“You have to keep getting the best guys that you can get in there and change positions as you need to change them,” Busch said. “Honestly, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, you’re going to run out of players, you know what I mean? The depth chart is not very deep for guys on pit road that are the ‘excel’ group. I feel like there’s an ‘A’ group of people, there’s a ‘B’ group and there’s a ‘C’ group, just like drivers.


“It’s hard to get any of those available guys from that ‘A’ group to come over to you because they’re under contract. You’re basically playing, what is it in football, the practice squad? You’re pulling guys off the practice squad to see what you can find, and hopefully you hit one.”

Busch finished 26th last weekend in Las Vegas and had multiple 17s pit stops, including one in the final 100 laps that took him out of the top 10. He also slid over the front line of his pit stall and was called for a pitting-outside-the-box penalty on lap 210.

“Typically, in years past at JGR, we’d always have a system of ‘it’s the changer’s responsibility’ or a guy behind the wall,” Busch said of that particular issue. “Like, one of the pit crew support guys behind the wall just needs to start jumping up and down and waving like pushing back, pushing back. That’s what I did. When I’d stop, I came to a stop, and I’m like, ‘Man, I feel a little long, but I don’t know.’

“So I looked at the behind-the-wall guys and the behind-the-wall guys were like moving the hose and ready to catch a tire. That wasn’t even something that they were supposed to do, so we’ve talked about some of those things to put more responsibility on more players so we cannot have the penalty exist.”

Busch is a student of the sport and arms himself with all available information and statistics, including for pit road. There are five or six sections where a driver worries about being the best compared to the competition, such as getting onto pit road, rolling speed, getting in and out of the pit stall, and then blending back onto the track after exiting.

On the two pit stops before Busch slid through his stall, he felt he had been too light and was giving up time. But the penalty stop occurred because he came in too hot and locked up the rear tires.

“All-in-all, just a frustrating day to have the disaster that we did on pit road of just being really slow,” Busch said. “And then for me to slide through to kind of add insult to injury on my behalf, we otherwise would have been a top-10 finisher. That was the day we needed and we certainly lost a lot of points.”

In the Daytona 500, Busch had a left front wheel loose while running inside the top five. He was able to creep around the racetrack and keep the wheel from coming off and the crew being issued a penalty.

Busch has also been called for speeding this year. He was penalized at Atlanta Motor Speedway under green flag conditions on lap 134, costing himself a chance for stage points.

“When I feel like I’m in a downward position, where I’m behind, and I’m going to try and get extra or more, that’s led to my speeding penalties,” Busch said. “That’s led to my sliding through the box because I know I have to makeup time on pit road myself to kind of compensate for what we’re losing when we’re stopped in the box.

“I know everyone at RCR is busting their tails and working hard. I know that Ray [Wright] and everybody in the pit crew department is…we just have what we have. We’ve got to work through it, and if that’s changing players around, then we have to change players around. We’ve got to find something that’s going to strengthen our front line, our defense, whatever it is or whatever you want to call those guys. …We’ve got to find the players that are going to make it roll.”

Story originally appeared on Racer