Dillon, Buescher have 1.5 mile tracks like Kansas down pat
There'll be a lot of unknowns this weekend as the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the Saturday running of the Kansas Lottery 300. After all, the track has been repaved, so teams can practically throw their notebooks out the window.
But there are at least a couple of drivers who are sure to provide tough competition as masters of the mile-and-a-half -- Austin Dillon in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and James Buescher in the No. 30 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet.
Buescher has dominated victory lane in the Camping World Truck Series this year with a series-leading four wins, all coming on intermediate tracks and his first coming at Kansas in April. His best Nationwide Series finish at Kansas, to date, is an 18th-place showing, but in the time since, Buescher has mastered mile-and-a-half tracks and proven that he's a serious contender on NASCAR's intermediates, no matter the series.
"I've been looking forward to getting back to Kansas since April," Buescher said. "It will always hold a special memory to me with it being the sight of my first NCWTS victory. I can't wait to try out the new surface that they laid down. I think it will produce some close racing for the fans."
Truck Series drivers or Sprint Cup regulars, aside, Dillon has shown that he knows how to wheel a Nationwide car around tracks of a mile-and-a-half in length. He's won twice on intermediate tracks this year. So far this season, he has an average finish of 5.1 on intermediate tracks, the best of any of the top-five championship contenders.
"The No. 3 AdvoCare team has performed very well on 1.5-mile tracks in the past and I expect that this weekend will be no different," Dillon said. "Our goal is to gain maximum points, and the way you do that is by winning races. I'm excited to go to Kansas Speedway and I definitely have high expectations."
Dillon has convinced himself that he can come from behind to claim the series title in his rookie year, and the math shows that he does have a legitimate shot. Given past performance, intermediate tracks like Kansas are the perfect venues for him to get the job done, even if Kansas Speedway is a track the driver has never raced on in Nationwide competition.
"This will be the first time the Nationwide Series has competed at Kansas Speedway following the repave and I cannot wait," Dillon said. "I think it will really even out the playing field because all teams are going there not knowing exactly what to expect."
As mentioned earlier, Kansas Speedway is at least a little different on this visit; the track's been repaved. But it's still a mile-and-a-half in length. That's a length that seems to suit the driving styles of Dillon and Buescher just fine.