Right Sides Only: Notes from the Pocono 400 Winning Crew Chief, Adam Stevens

by Stacey Owens

Pocono Raceway presents drivers with a host of elements that are different from other tracks. One of those is the aerodynamics package, and not every driver is thrilled with that package. Kyle Busch happens to be in that camp.

Crew chief Adam Stevens does his best to keep Busch from getting frustrated while simultaneously letting him drive and hoping for the best.

"We spend a lot of time during the week together and talking about what we're up against and what everybody is up against, and at the end of the day we're not racing packages, we're racing other teams and other drivers, and it's our job to beat them, and that was the same with last year's rules and it's the same with this year's rules.

"It's just a matter of perspective and making sure that he's focused on the right things.  But as time goes, that gets easier and easier," Stevens said.

Stevens has heard Busch vent his frustrations on the radio many times. Part of his job is lead Busch through those frustrations and help him get past them. Anyone listening to their radio frequency during the race in Charlotte last weekend heard some of that when Busch said, "I resign." Stevens talked a bit about those conversations he has with Busch.

"You know, there's a certain amount of venting of frustrations that helps him, right. That's probably true for all of us. Sliding scale for some people. And you just don't want to see him get to the point where the venting isn't helping relieve the frustration and then he makes bad decisions. I remember that incident. I don't remember exactly how I felt at that specific time. But a lot of times if he can just get it out and then you can refocus him, he's probably better off than keeping it bottled up.
"By and large, we've found a way to navigate through that," Stevens explained.
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Rebecca Kivak for Skirts and Scuffs

Busch is one of the few drivers with multiple wins this season. He hasn't, however, had stellar finishes at every track, which might have led fans to wonder if the driver was in a bit of slump prior to this win at Pocono. Stevens addressed that perceived slump.
" I think you could look at the finishes and say we were in a slump of finishing races for sure.  We weren't in a slump for running well. We were second on the last restart, I believe, at Talladega and got shuffled and sped on pit road a couple times, had a -- was it Kansas, I think, or one of them [sic] places where we drove through too many pit boxes racing the 88 for the lead. It's not like we haven't had speed and not like we haven't been up front late in the races when it matters most.
"But certainly not finishing off the races and taking advantage of those opportunities will weigh on anybody that does this for a living. This is our job, so it's nice to get back and put a whole weekend together and capitalize on it," Stevens said.
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  Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
   The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far. 
   This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves country music, though she can't carry a tune; Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life; and her husband who's supportive of her NASCAR obsession... as long as she allows him to obsess over college football every fall. 
Right Sides Only: Notes from the Pocono 400 Winning Crew Chief, Adam Stevens Right Sides Only: Notes from the Pocono 400 Winning Crew Chief, Adam Stevens Reviewed by Stacey Owens on Monday, June 03, 2019 Rating: 5

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