Busch Gets New Crew Chief

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. The chemistry between a crew chief and a driver may be great in one situation, but not so great in another.

Take Roush Racing’s Kurt Busch and Matt Chambers. While the pair clicked last year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, a relationship that produced a rookie-of-the-year award, four victories and a second-place overall finish, the duo couldn’t find the right combination in the Winston Cup Series in 2001.

So, Chambers has been assigned to another role within the Roush Racing organization, while Ben Leslie was promoted to the role of Busch’s crew chief on the No. 97 Taurus.

Busch’s best finish this season in the first six races was 10th at Atlanta. He also finished 11th the previous week at Las Vegas.

However, Busch finished 41st at Daytona, 36th at Rockingham, 30th at Darlington and most recently 42nd in the Food City 500 last Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch currently sits in 34th place in the Winston Cup points standings.

Team owner Jack Roush said the change is a positive one for the 97 team, which has still without a primary sponsor.

Leslie has spent several years at Roush Racing, working with Mark Martin in the Busch Series and most recently as car chief for Matt Kenseth on the No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford team.

“We feel Ben’s (Leslie) experience with Roush Racing and in Winston Cup racing generally will help advance Kurt and the whole team," Roush said. “Ben has been with our organization for many years and will be able to provide the knowledge of our Winston Cup program to teach the many young and talented members of this team.”

Leslie is thrilled about the opportunity to work with Busch and hopes to help him earn rookie-of-the-year honors.

“Kurt Busch is a very talented driver and I’m anxious to continue some of the good runs he has had so far this season,” Leslie said. “I hope we can build on the strengths of this team and earn more top-10 finishes like Atlanta to keep Kurt a rookie-of-the-year contender.”

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