Josh Bush is no stranger to performing on the big stage, only now he's performing in a completely different sport.
It has been several years since bush was putting on pads and hitting others on the gridiron. He's still busy these days, but now he spends almost every day for 38 weeks of the year changing tires on NASCAR's pit roads for Trackhouse Racing.
The normal rules of the road don't apply to NASCAR pit crews — well, not during competition anyway. The crew guys can't pay attention to all that, as their goal is to change four tires and fuel the car in less than 10 seconds.
If you look at Bush during a pit crew practice — at 5-foot-11, clad in an all-black Trackhouse Racing gear including a white-and-black striped helmet — you may wonder how he could have been an athlete outside of racing.
— Jon Heath (@ByJonHeath) June 9, 2021
Josh Bush's Path From the NFL to NASCAR
The truth is that, just seven years ago, Bush was celebrating in confetti on the field at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. Not only was he a Super Bowl champion but also a teammate of Peyton Manning in the legendary quarterback's final game.
Bush is always at the top of his game when it comes to the big moments. Whether it's changing the front tire of a car during a race or making a key tackle on the football field, Bush keeps his demeanor cool, but it took years of practice and experience to get where he is.
"I think that just comes from experience, just being confident in who you are and putting the work in," Bush told Sarah Effress in an interview for The Charlotte Observer. "I had a coach that told me, be humble in your preparations and be confident in your ability. So I just try to prepare. When it comes to that moment, I'm not too high, I'm not too low. I'm just the same guy."
Football and working on a pit crew have more similarities than most people think. Bush's athletic background helped him rise through the ranks after starting at Richard Childress Racing and working on Austin Dillon's crew. Dillon played a role in getting Bush into NASCAR after his retirement from the NFL following that 2015 season.
It took some time, but after developing a relationship with the driver, Bush officially joined the Childress team in 2021.
Josh Bush makes his Cup debut as a rear tire changer for Austin Dillon. I explain why he has experience handling pressure in the spotlight today on NASCAR #RaceDay at 4:30p ET on FS1.@NASCARONFOX | @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/2ThKE6tDrn
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) May 30, 2021
Since then, Bush moved over to Trackhouse Racing in 2022 and was able to taste victory lane for the first time that season with Daniel Suarez at Sonoma Raceway.
Bush is blessed with the opportunity, as it is more than just a job to him. It's a fresh start, and he says teams have always been where he has found his best friends.
"Teams, that's where I found the best friends in my life," Bush said. "Playing on different teams, being a part of an organization. It just gives you some sort of purpose."
The sports background of pit crews has become more and more common since the 1990s, when Jeff Gordon's "Rainbow Warriors" first rose to fame. Bush is lucky to be on a pit crew that features four members who played some level of college or pro football, and one who played basketball in college.
It is clear that with how fast pit stops need to be these days, having athletes on the pit lane is a must. Though it is a grind of a season, it is well worth getting back into athletics for a lot of people such as Bush. Shaun Peet, who is a former gas man in NASCAR and a current pit crew coach for Trackhouse, knows how important a pit crew is to a team, and he believes that Trackhouse is the best at getting everyone to buy in.
"In this sport, you cannot win alone. So what you see is guys and girls picking each other up, trying to get them to the finish line so that we succeed together," Peet said. "And I find that increasingly rare outside of this race shop."
It's clearly why Trackhouse Racing has become one of the new faces of NASCAR.
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