It’s been an up and down start to 2021 for Busch, whose new crew chief, Ben Beshore, replaced longtime pit boss Adam Stevens this season. Busch started off the year unofficially with a bang by winning the Busch Clash on the Daytona International Speedway road course, but he has just one top-five finish (Las Vegas) in a handful of points-paying races. Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota struggled mightily this past weekend at Phoenix Raceway, where it took the checkered flag in 25th.
Busch is a two-time winner, however, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, having gone to Victory Lane here most recently in 2013. “Atlanta is one of those places where anything can happen, and we’ll definitely have to be on our toes there this weekend,” Busch said. “You have to have good grip there, you have to have good tire falloff; you have to be fast to start a run, yet you don’t want to fall off more than anybody else. So you have to take care of your stuff and bide your time a little bit. That lends itself to options by the driver to either push hard early (in the run) or save a little and be there late.”