Central York grad Ben Beshore, Kyle Busch build bond during recent strong NASCAR finishes
- Central York High School graduate Ben Beshore is a rookie crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series.
- Beshore is working with two-time Cup Series champion Kyle Busch.
- In their last two Cup Series races, Beshore and Busch have a win and a third-place finish.
For most rookie NASCAR crew chiefs, finishing half of the first 10 Cup Series races in the top 10, including a pair of top-five finishes, would be seen as early success.
Not for Ben Beshore though.
The Central York High School graduate is tasked with guiding two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch to another title after a down season. The expectation is for the No. 18 car to finish in victory lane, not just inside the top 10.
So, when Beshore and Busch picked up their first NASCAR victory together on May 2, the traditional celebration of balloons and cupcakes at the Beshore house tasted even sweeter, even if his kids got to pick the flavor instead of the guy celebrating his big win.
“We all had a cupcake and the kids played with their balloons, that was kind of it and then back to work,” Beshore said. “The kids got chocolate because that's their favorite. It didn't matter what I liked.”
Busch and Beshore followed up the win in Kansas with a third-place race on Sunday. Now through 12 Cup Series races in 2021, the pair have seven top-10 results and four top-five finishes. Busch is No. 10 in the current NASCAR standings, but is projected to be placed eighth in the playoffs based on his recent results.
Pressure is on the crew: With a driver as talented as Busch on his team, Beshore and the rest of his crew know if the results aren't coming, it’s likely their fault.
“He's won at almost every track, so you know he knows how to do it. It's up to you and the team to kind of get the most out of the car and you don't want to be the weak link in the chain,” Beshore said. “So his talent (and) his success pushes everyone to step it up because you don't want to be the guy to let the team down. I think that motivates everybody to want to do their best and get the most out of every single piece on the car, every part of the setup, and make the most out every weekend and just try to be as successful as we can.”
Their relationship dates back: One of the major factors in the decision to select Beshore as Busch’s new crew chief was their relationship. The former Panther spent four years as Busch’s race engineer from 2015 to 2018. Together, they won Busch’s first title together in 2015.
Busch filled in for Beshore’s Xfinity Series car in 2019 for seven races and won five times, with engine failures while in the lead stopping a potential undefeated run. Beshore also filled in for Adam Stevens for three races when he was suspended in 2017 and Busch finished in the top 10 in all three events and in the top three once.
Expects strong results to continue: After Busch's split with Stevens that shocked the NASCAR community, Beshore believes his bond with Busch allows them to work well together and expects the results to keep improving as they continue to create chemistry as a team.
“There's no time for sugarcoating anything or beating around the bush. You have to just be as blunt (and) honest as you can with each other, and Kyle and I have a lot of respect for each other,” Beshore said.
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“So we're able to talk openly like that and everything comes from a competitive nature and just trying to get the most out of every situation. I know when he says a certain thing what he's looking for in the car and trying to correlate that back to whether it's your simulation or whatever part of the car you're working on. So having that familiarity goes a long way. It sort of shortcuts that learning curve to be able to get some success quicker than if you didn't have that.”
No time for celebrating: Although the pair have put together consecutive impressive finishes, including Beshore’s first NASCAR win as a Cup Series crew chief, Beshore isn’t interested in celebrating right now.
The time for that will be at the end of the season, but until then, he hopes there are a few more cupcake celebrations with the family that will signal they are having a successful season, even by Busch’s lofty expectations.
“We didn't set our goals to go out and win one race this year. We want more than that and we want to make a deep run in the championship,” Beshore said. “So, maybe after the season we'll slow down a little bit and look back, but right now we're full tilt going forward.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.