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February 24, 2024

Kyle Busch, No. 8 team move forward after jackman swap for Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta

Kyle Busch looks on at Atlanta
Alex Slitz
Getty Images

HAMPTON, Ga. — Ahead of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Kyle Busch and the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing team will have a new jackman in Garrett Crall as he takes over for Josh Sobecki.

The change comes after a loose wheel suffered by the team after a pit stop during the Stage 2 break of last Sunday’s Daytona 500. Busch limped his No. 8 Chevrolet around the 2.5-mile superspeedway back to pit road without further damage and rallied to finish 12th while leading 12 laps in the “Great American Race.”

RELATED: Sunday’s Cup Series lineup | Photos from Atlanta

Busch said on Saturday that RCR attempted to make pit crew changes during the offseason, this latest shake-up coming after the team shifted several key personnel between the Nos. 3 and 8 teams early on in last year’s playoffs.

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“We were trying to redo a few different positions over the offseason, and some of the talent we were scouting, talking to and giving offers to, they declined them and went somewhere else,” Busch said. “We kind of just had what we had, and we’ve been working through that. It’s tough out there. It’s really hard to recruit and get guys. Especially with where RCR is based and where they’re at, it’s a long drive to get up to Welcome (North Carolina) to pit-stop practice sometimes three and four times a week, whatever it might be.

“I know that [pit-crew coach] Ray [Wright] and all the guys there in the pit crew department are working super hard. Trust me, they’ve heard it – not from me, but from Richard week in and week out. Their ears are bleeding, but I know they’re trying and I know they’re working hard. Trust me, there were plenty of offers over the offseason to try and get different talent up there, and we just weren’t able to secure it.”

After the pit stop at Daytona, RCR owner Richard Childress had fiery words for the No. 8 pit crew, telling the team to straighten up for the final stage.

Over the years, Busch has been the one to voice his displeasure after a mistake but with Childress being hands-on with his Cup teams and actively engaged during races, Busch has taken a step back from being the lead vocalist over team communications.

“Richard is very involved and wants any situation to get better,” Busch said. “If we’re not winning every single race out of the year, then how did we lose that one race? What can we do to make it better? That’s a racer’s mentality … that’s what we all try to strive for and try to be better at. It’s tough sometimes when you have the human element. We all make mistakes. I made tons of them last year and my crew stuck behind me – was passionate that I was their driver and wanted to go to the next week and figure out how to win the next one. I know where Richard is coming from, and I appreciate that – the emphasis he puts on greatness and wanting to be better. It’s what we all strive for.”