Through the season’s first 17 races, Busch has yet to make a trip to Victory Lane, though he did finish as runner-up in Wednesday night’s All-Star Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
While his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin (four times) and Martin Truex Jr. (once) have registered wins, Busch remains not only lacking in victories but has rarely even been in contention.
“We’re struggling right now. There’s just no speed in our race cars for some reason. I don’t know what’s going on,” Busch said. “It seemed (in the All-Star Race), even when we were mired in 10th, I was driving 110-percent just to maintain where the hell I was, not going forward.
“That’s usually not indicative of us, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota, whatever. It’s certainly been frustrating this year. It seems like any time I fall into a rhythm, I back up myself just a little bit to 90, 95-percent (and) I’m going backwards.
“You can’t run at 100 percent all the time every lap. When you do, you start making mistakes.”
Getting back to his winning ways
Busch has finished second three times this season but even in those races he led a grand total of just seven laps (all in one race). Only once this year he has led more than 14 laps in a race – leading 100 in the spring race at Bristol before eventually finishing fourth.
Entering Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, Busch is 11th in the series standings and has finished 21st or worse in three of his last five races.
“We’ve just been run into a lot this year. When we’ve had nothing happen, we get run into,” he said. “Those are bad finishes, as well. I don’t know. We can chalk it up to a whole bunch of things.
“For lack of a better term is we’ve got to be faster.”
Texas offers Busch an opportunity to get back on track. He has 16 wins at the track across all three NASCAR national series, including three victories in Cup. The most recent came in the spring race in 2018.
One thing Busch believes might aid he and his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team – practice sessions – he will still be without. NASCAR continues to show up and run the races with no practice and qualifying during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t know if we’ve unloaded perfect and haven’t had to make adjustments to our car one time this year,” Busch said. “We’ve been wholesaling it, whether it’s been packer, air pressure, or wedge.
“There’s been some times where I’ve felt like we’ve had too much right-front camber and I wish we could change that, but we can’t. There are definitely some things that we’ve been picking up on that I would like to work on, but we haven’t had the opportunity to do so.
“It’s on your mind that we don’t have that win and haven’t really been in contention to get that win a whole lot this year.”