The driver/crew chief pairing claimed two championships together before abruptly parting ways
Between 2015-2020, Adam Stevens severed as the crew chief for Kyle Busch. In their debut season, they claimed the NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Along the way, it wasn’t uncommon for the two of them to disagree. They regularly kept each other in check via countless radio communications.
In 2019, they circled back to claim their second championship and five race wins in a single season.
One year later, Kyle Busch claimed just a single win and finished a career worst of 8th in the standings.
Heading into 2021, the two abruptly parted ways. The announcement was made in November 2020, just a few weeks following the 2020 season finale.
For this year, Adam Stevens is still working for Joe Gibbs Racing but with newcomer Christopher Bell. Ben Beshore is serving as the crew chief for Kyle Busch.
Recently, Kyle Busch has shed some light on the situation. It was equally a surprise to him as it was to the rest of us…
Kyle Busch on the departure of Adam Stevens
“There were some periods of time during 2020 that were a bit of struggle for us,” Kyle Busch reflects via In Depth with Graham Bensinger.
“The communication was never a problem. The work ethic was never a problem. Something wasn’t working and clicking.”
“So, I asked Adam for a couple changes during the off-season. And he didn’t agree with my philosophy on those changes.”
“He said, ‘You know what, I’m going to go do something different and let you do something different. And, we’ll see what happens.’ “
Of the changes, Busch requested personnel replacements.
“I was shocked because I was like, ‘Well, essentially you just told me you quit on me. So, ok. See you later. Now, I have to go find somebody else.’ “
“I flat out told him in the beginning, ‘Look, I believe in you, I trust in you, I want you and you’re my guy. We’ve done this already, for 6 years and we’ve won two championships. There’s chemistry here and we have a working relationship where we understand one-and-other.’ “
“And, when we’re at the race track and we’re in the practice sessions and I ask for changes or I talk about how the car’s 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. The car’s tight, the car’s tight. From the moment you unload to the moment you go home, there’s never improvement. Adam’s been the first guy that on any given weekend, there’s always change in the car and how it feels.”
“That’s what I liked about him. That’s why I didn’t want to lose that. But, I guess all good things must come to an end.”
“I think, in this sport, that’s just something that’s going to happen,” Joe Gibbs commented.
“It’s rare that you see a crew chief and a driver stay together for extended periods of time. You go through the ups and downs, everything that can happen in a racing season.”
“You see that happen quite a bit in this sport. Adam and Kyle had such a great relationship but when everybody sat down and talked about it. Everybody felt it was probably a time to change.”