Week after week, Adam Stevens gave Kyle Busch the best race car he could.
Yet week after week, for an agonizing 36 consecutive races, Busch and Stevens failed to wind up in victory lane. And let’s not forget the four-race suspension Stevens served as penalty for having a tire come off Busch’s car in early June.
But that’s all past history after Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway. Busch finally earned his first win since the 2016 Brickyard 400 and earned his way into the upcoming 10-race NASCAR Cup playoffs.
While Busch was relieved to finally take the checkered flag, no one was likely more relieved than Stevens. The right car and the right strategy finally paid off.
“There was a fair amount of relief there,” Stevens told NBCSN after the race. “It seems like every week we’ve had a fast car and just had something go wrong. That list of things of things to go wrong got so big we had to go through it.
“Today was our day. In qualifying, we barely snuck through the first round and then held on for the pole, and then we almost slid through the box one time today. When Lady Luck is on your side, she is.”
While other drivers like Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. pitted early, Stevens chose a different strategy and kept Busch on the track.
“If we had a caution and where it fell, it could really mess it up,” Stevens said. “We saw that they came out with a bit of traffic and knew that would hold them back, so it was just a matter of maximizing the tire disadvantage they were going to have at the end.”
While Stevens can breathe a little easier, knowing his driver is now in the playoffs with Sunday’s win, there’s precious little time to enjoy it.
“Every Monday’s a new Monday, we leave last weekend behind us and start anew,” Stevens said. “You’ve seen it every week, but it’s nice to finally get that wind behind us and really move on.”