Chase Capsules: Kyle Busch


18 – Kyle Busch
Team: Joe Gibbs Racing
Crew Chief: Dave Rogers
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Best Finish: 4th (2013)
Chase History: 6th Chase Appearance, Best finish of 4th in 2013

Regular Season Recap: Busch held off rookie Kyle Larson to win at Auto Club Speedway at March, which didn’t seem such a big deal at the time – “The Shrub” is usually good for three or four wins and a solid position in the standings. As it turned out that was his only regular season win. He’s in the midst of a late-summer slump, with an engine failure at Pocono, back-to-back finishes of 40th and 39th at Watkins Glen and Michigan and his wreck at Bristol dropping him from sixth to 17th in the points. It’s been a strange reversal of fortunes as in three of the four races prior, he’d finished second.

Chris’ Take: Busch’s refusal to pack it in during the 2013 Chase after a bad finish at Kansas should have me more confident in how he can fare during the post-season. But his ongoing feast-or-famine stretch, combined with a few dollops of drama (Bristol with crew chief Dave Rogers, Atlanta with Martin Truex Jr.), has me worried instead.

Not that Busch can’t recover and do well in the post-season; we were wondering about Jimmie Johnson’s problems going into last year’s Chase and he ended up a champion for the sixth time. But that 48 group has proven that they can turn it on pretty much at will. Busch and the 18 camp have not. They’ll get out of the Challenger Round, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them eliminated in the Contender Round.

Jerry’s Take: While Kyle Busch finished a career-best fourth in the Chase last season, it wasn’t so much what he did, but what the other Chase contenders didn’t do. He excelled because they failed. This season, with the field expanded from 12 to 16 drivers, Busch is going to be a non-entity. Frankly, we don’t see him getting past the first round. He might catch a break at a place like Dover to sneak into the second round, but there’s no way the younger Busch brother gets any further than that. Once again, it will be a case of talent and promise unfulfilled when it means the most.

Tony’s Take: Perhaps Busch and the 18 team are employing the Jimmie Johnson “Hey, let’s get our bad run out of races out of the way before the Chase” strategy. Otherwise, following the Busch-Dave Rogers Bristol blowup, confidence and momentum is low for this camp which makes the Chase but with very little in the way of positive vibes.

Busch in the past has always enjoyed strong regular seasons, with multiple wins. But form has fluctuated lately and generally trended downward. Week-to-week, you never know if the 18 team will be a victory contender or barely crack the top-15. It’s for that reason and with Busch’s consistent struggles in the Chase that it’s hard to see this group as a title contender, and leaves them vulnerable for early elimination.

Kyle Busch’s Career Statistics at Chase Tracks
Chicagoland (1.5 mile) – One wins, 4 Top-5s, 4 Top-10s in 9 starts
New Hampshire (1 mile) – One win, 7 Top-5s, 9 Top-10s in 19 starts
Dover (1 mile) – Two wins, 9 Top-5s, 12 Top-10s in 19 starts
Kansas (1.5 mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 2 Top-10s in 14 starts
Charlotte (1.5 mile) – No wins, 9 Top-5s, 13 Top-10s in 21 starts
Talladega (2.66 mile) – One win, 4 Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in 19 starts
Martinsville (half-mile) – No wins, 8 Top-5s, 9 Top-10s in 18 starts
Texas (1.5-mile) – One win, 7 Top-5s, 8 Top-10s in 18 starts
Phoenix (1 mile) – One wins, 3 Top-5s, 12 Top-10s in 19 starts
Homestead-Miami (1.5 mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 3 Top-10s in 9 starts

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”