Kyle Larson hasn’t spent much time around new teammate Kurt Busch, but he’s confident in what Busch will bring to Chip Ganassi Racing.
“He’s a very, very competitive personality and I think he’ll hold everybody accountable to be their best,” Larson said. “That’s going to be good. He’s got no filter, so I think if there’s something he doesn’t like he’s going to point it out where I’m not that brave of a person to tell Chip [Ganassi], ‘this is wrong and it needs to be changed.’ I don’t think Kurt’s afraid to break down walls to make his point clear.”
Larson feels like that will be a good thing for the Nos. 1 and 42 at CGR.
“I think to a certain point, yeah,” he said. “It gets people listening and all that, but there’s also sensitive people, so you’ve got to be careful also. But shoot, he’s been doing it so long he probably knows right from wrong by now.”
Busch, of course, has never been afraid to speak his mind or express his displeasure over the in-car radio. The 2004 series champion is known for his talent as much as his brash attitude and outspoken nature.
The younger Larson has the opposite approach. Busch is a racer with knowledge of the cars and pieces, often engaging with his team about what changes to make, where and why.
Larson, by contrast, prefers to show up and drive. While he said he was more outspoken than usual last year, by not having the same technical prowess as Busch he’s not going to tell others what direction to go or what they should be doing.
“I don’t know enough, I’m not confident in what I’m saying,” Larson explained. “I don’t know anything about a stock car, so I can’t go say like, hey, we need these spindles. But somebody like Kurt who has experience probably can.”
Busch joins CGR after five seasons at the four-car Stewart-Haas Racing operation. The 2019 season will be his 19th full year in the series, and crew chief Matt McCall praised Busch as an “impressive” racer.
When it comes to how the two will work together and if McCall will be able to crack the whip, so to speak, the veteran crew chief admitted he’s pretty persistent and doesn’t roll over. But McCall, who spent the past four years on Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chevy, believes he and Busch have similar characteristics and expects good things to come.
As for Busch, he also likes what he sees in his new digs.
“Everybody that’s in this sport of NASCAR wants to win,” said Busch. “They want to work hard, and they want to have fun while they’re doing it. I’ve been up here plenty of days. I show up early and surprise the crew guys and jump in the pit stop car and kind of put them out of rhythm and just see how they react to it. But the overall shop atmosphere, I think here, is very hungry.
“At SHR we had a fantastic year last year with all the wins. That changes people’s demeanor sometimes like, oh yeah, we know what we’re doing. I think this group here is that much more eager and they’re hungrier, and they want to do more. That’s what I feel as I walk through the shop.”