NASCAR Star Kyle Busch ‘Getting More Serious’ With His iRacing Training


Sick of finishing near the back of the pack, Kyle Busch kicked his sim racing training into high gear. And, with the iRacing eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series now a month old, Busch’s hard work is starting to pay off.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver finished 29th, 17th and 18th in the series’ first three races, respectively. But Busch experienced a breakthrough Sunday, finishing fifth at virtual Richmond Raceway a day after finishing 13th in an iRacing IndyCar Challenge race.

One of the most dedicated and talented drivers on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Busch is committed to also excelling in NASCAR’s pandemic-produced replacement.

?It?s definitely getting more serious because I?m working to try and get better,? Busch recently told the Pocono Record’s Zach Sturniolo. ?I struggled in qualifying the first few races and was able to work my way back up front each time, so qualifying has been a struggle point for me so far. I got back into the top-10 each race, but I?ve been caught up in a wreck each time that has not allowed me to finish very well the first three races. It was finally get a good finish at Richmond and get the finish we deserved.?

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Busch’s improvements aren’t lost on 22-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, a longtime iRacing competitor who won the last two Pro Invitational Series races.

?In the practice race that I did, he (Busch) ran third, and then he ran fifth today,? Byron said. ?So I think his talent and ability to kind of understand the cars is coming through. I thought Brad Keselowski was really impressive recently. I think he was running third at one point in this race.

?You know, it?s just little details here and there that make a difference, and everyone is really close now.?

With a few exceptions, NASCAR veterans have struggled to keep up with drivers like Byron who have far more sim racing experience under their belts. Playing iRacing — especially while using a high-end sim rig — offers an experience as close to real-life racing as someone could get without putting their foot on a real gas pedal, but the differences are nonetheless real and difficult to adjust to.

?The cars are driven way different in the sim world than they are in real life,” Busch said. “You can take advantage of situations in iRacing that you wouldn?t do in real life because there?s no repercussions, no torn-up equipment. So you are trying to figure that out and engulf yourself in the sim and figure out how to be faster and more competitive.?

Ultimately, Busch’s primary focus is on being ready to hit the ground running whenever the 2020 NASCAR season resumes. The 2019 Cup Series champion was 12th in the standings when the coronavirus brought the campaign to a halt.

In the meantime, Busch is doing all he can to ensure drivers on virtual tracks fear “Rowdy” as much as they do in the real world.

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