Season finish: 10th
2014 Season Stats: 1 win, 9 top-5, 15 top-10, 3 Poles.
What went right: The younger Busch brother had a good, but not great season. For the second time in three seasons, he managed just one victory, compared to his four wins in 2013. But Busch’s lack of wins didn’t rest solely on himself. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin also only had one win, while fellow teammate Matt Kenseth had zero wins after earning a series-high seven triumphs in 2013. Busch faded in the Eliminator Round of the Chase and did not advance to the season-ending Championship Round at Homestead. On a side note, Busch and wife Samantha announced they will soon become parents for the first time.
What went wrong: While Busch insists racing in other series helps him with his day job in the Sprint Cup circuit, one must wonder if perhaps he’s racing too much and it indeed is affecting that same day job. Busch earned seven wins each in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series in 2014, but an argument can be made that by racing so much, he’s wearing himself out for Sunday’s usual main event. On a more specific note, Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers had communication problems that may have ultimately led to their divorce of sorts after the season. It’ll be interesting to see how Busch and new crew chief in 2015, Adam Stevens, work together. Or not.
2015 Prospectus: With a new crew chief, and likely with at least a few new pit crew members, it will be interesting to see how quickly Busch and Stevens jell in 2015. Of course, they’re not strangers, as Stevens was Busch’s crew chief the past two seasons in the Nationwide Series. If they can only have part of the success they’ve had on NASCAR’s junior circuit – 52 starts, 19 wins, 46 top-5 and 47 top-10 finishes – in the Cup series, it will be a good change. Busch still hasn’t won his first Cup championship. Will turning 30 and being a new father and having a new crew chief in 2015 all potentially help him to that goal?
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