Kyle Busch will race for a championship with a new pit crew.
Joe Gibbs Racing will switch pit crews for Busch and Daniel Suarez. Busch will get what had been Suarez’s crew and Suarez will get what had been Busch’s crew, a team spokesman confirmed.
Five members of Busch’s pit crew were with him when he won the 2015 championship: Gas man Tom Lampe, rear tire carrier Kenny Barber, rear tire changer Jake Seminara, front tire changer Josh Leslie and front tire carrier Brad Donaghy.
Busch’s new pit crew will be: Gas man Kenneth Purcell, front tire changer Clay Robinson, front tire carrier Kevin Harris, rear tire changer Kip Wolfmeir, rear tire carrier Matt VerMeer and jackman Trey Burklin.
Busch enters the playoffs third in the standings, 24 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and 20 points behind Kyle Larson.
At the playoff media day, Busch said the change was made due to matters of speed and consistency.
“My guys, they would have speed, but the speed that they had was occasional and the consistency that they had was less than stellar,” Busch said. “When you can have a faster group and their consistency is better, there’s no question you’ve got to take them.”
Busch doesn’t think the change right before the playoffs will be too much of a challenge for the team.
“As good as the pit crews are these days, as fast as they are, I feel like even though some drivers might stop a little different, some might stop shallow, some might stop left, might stop long, whatever it might be in the box, I feel like the pit crews are so fast now that they can adjust so quickly that it doesn’t matter,” Busch said. “You don’t see that time much anymore where arguably years ago when Matt Kenseth was super fast with the Killer B’s, it was always because Matt stopped the same every single time and they knew where he was going to be and just planned for that. Now a days I think our guys are all fast enough, they’re athletic enough, they go where you’re at.”
Daniel McFadin contributed to this report.