Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and crew chief Ben Beshore are off to a fantastic start for the 2021 season, after bringing Joe Gibbs Racing a season-opening victory in the Busch Clash Tuesday night.
It marks over half a decade since Busch was paired with a new crew chief on a full-time schedule after news came that former crew chief Adam Stevens and Busch confirmed that they were splitting after the 2020 season in November.
The news of the split may have caught some fans off guard as a sudden change after an off-season for the pair, but the reasoning why maybe even more surprising.
In a new interview with Graham Bensinger posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Busch went into specific details on why the duo split following an abysmal season for the defending champion. He claimed that the communication and the work ethic between the two was not a problem, to begin with.
“Just something wasn’t working or clicking,” Busch said to Bensinger. “I asked Adam for a couple of changes to be made over the offseason, and he didn’t agree with my philosophy on those changes. So he said, ‘You know what, I’m going to do something different and let you do something different and we will see what happens.’ ”
Busch said that he requested “personnel changes” and that Stevens declined to honor the driver’s request. The discussion between the two ultimately led to the demise of the championship-winning pair.
“I was shocked because I was like, well, essentially you just told me you quit on me,” Busch explained. “OK. See you later. Now I have to go find somebody else who is going to be the next guy to step in and take over the reins.”
Busch had prefaced the conversation between the two by reaffirming his trust in Stevens and his commitment to the pair’s success.
Busch elaborated: “When we’re at the racetrack, and we’re under normal circumstances, every time we’re in practice sessions and I ask for changes or I talk about how the car is reacting, and he makes changes, we always improve. I haven’t had that with a lot of crew chiefs. Sometimes you talk about the same thing over and over again, from the moment you unload to the moment you go home there’s never improvement, there’s never change. Adam has been the first guy on any given weekend, there’s always change in the car and how it feels and that’s what I liked about it and him. That’s why I didn’t want to lose that. But, I guess all good things must come to an end.”
The duo saw many achievements together including the iconic 2015 comeback of Busch following a crash at the season opener at Daytona in the Xfinity Series. Suffering a broken leg after a nasty accident, Busch came back mid-way through the 2015 season to race his way back into playoff contention, and ultimately win the championship, his first of two with Stevens.
Following the shuffle, Stevens moved over to the No. 20 team and JGR’s newest young star, Christopher Bell. Busch became paired with Beshore, who spent the past few seasons in the Xfinity Series. Last season, Beshore called the shots for Harrison Burton and his impressive four-win season.
This is not the first time that Busch and Beshore have worked together on the Cup side. Beshore was called to help the No. 18 team as crew chief in 2017 after a loose wheel at Dover gave Stevens a three-race suspension.