James Buescher Battles Heat to Capture 12th-Place Finish at Gateway Coming off their third top-five finish in six events, James Buescher and the No. 31 Turner Motorsports team entered Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway at full speed with ...
James Buescher Battles Heat to Capture 12th-Place Finish at Gateway
Coming off their third top-five finish in six events, James Buescher and the No. 31 Turner Motorsports team entered Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway at full speed with momentum on their side.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) was scheduled to have a one-day show on Friday, starting the morning with two practice sessions, followed by qualifying and the race later in the day. The Wolf Pack Rentals team worked feverishly in the extremely hot conditions to get the No. 31 Chevrolet tuned in. The hard work paid off as Buescher qualified his truck in the second starting position, with a lap of 33.767 seconds.
After pre-race ceremonies concluded on Friday night, the drivers and crews were placed in a holding pattern as the track was without power, hindering the lights illuminating the track and pit road. Local crews tried to repair the problem, but after a lengthy delay, the CampingWorld.com 200 was postponed to Saturday afternoon.
As the heat reached over 100 degrees on Saturday, the green flag was displayed for 160 laps of hard nose racing. Rolling off from the outside of row one, Buescher quickly reported to crew chief Michael Shelton that his Chevy was "tight to the center and pushed up the track on both ends." The first caution of the afternoon waved on lap 14, with Buescher scored in the fifth position.
Staying on the racetrack and electing not to pit, Buescher restarted in the top-five on lap 17. A few laps after returning to green flag conditions, the Texas native radioed to his Wolf Pack Rentals team that his water temperatures and pressures were rising. Buescher fell back a few positions to 12th-place, but did a superb job of not overheating his engine. A much-needed caution came on lap 51 and Shelton called Buescher to pit road. The Turner Motorsports team changed four tires, added fuel, made air pressure and rubber adjustments and removed tape from the grill.
A quick pit stop by the Wolf Pack Rentals crew allowed Buescher to gain two positions and restart on lap 57 from the 10th position. Still facing a tight handling condition, Buescher reported to Shelton that he would need another big swing of adjustments on the next pit stop. The chance for more changes would come on lap 74 when the caution would be displayed once again for debris. Running in 14th-place, Buescher came in for four tires, fuel, air pressure, track bar, and rubber adjustments. The 20-year-old restarted from the 17th position on lap 78.
Another quick caution slowed the field on lap 81, as teammate Ricky Carmichael was taken out by a fellow competitor. After a lengthy clean up, Buescher took the green flag to restart in 16th-place on lap 90. The previous adjustments made improvements with the handling of the Wolf Pack Rentals Chevrolet but Buescher still reported a tight condition and needed to rotate through the turns better.
Buescher moved up to the 14th position as the final caution of the event waved on lap 125. Shelton called the young gun to pit road once again for four tires, fuel, air pressure, track bar, and wedge adjustments. Another consistent stop for the over-the-wall crew allowed Buescher to restart in the same position on lap 130.
Over the final 30 laps, Buescher worked his way up to 12th-place but wasn't able to advance his position further due to his "lack of acceleration off the exit of the turn." This was Buescher's fifth top-15 finish in the last seven NCWTS races.
Kevin Harvick won the CampingWorld.com 200. Brad Keselowski, Johnny Sauter, Todd Bodine, and Matt Crafton completed the top-five finishing positions.
The caution-flag was displayed five times, accounting for a total of 27 laps.
Buescher's second-place qualifying run was his fourth top-three effort in the last five NCWTS events, dating back to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May.
Buescher and the No. 31 Wolf Pack Rentals Chevrolet will return to racing action at O'Reilly Raceway Park, this Friday, July 23rd. Live coverage can be seen on SPEED beginning with the Set-Up show at 7:30 P.M. Eastern, as well as the live radio broadcast heard on MRN Radio and Sirius-XM Satellite Radio.
JAMES BUESCHER: HOW WAS YOUR RACE? "Today was a tough race, especially with the heat. My Wolf Pack Rentals Chevrolet was tight for most of the race and Michael Shelton and the guys made a lot of adjustments. The transition of thinking we were going to run at night to actually running in the middle of the day, threw us a little challenge. But we never gave up and were able to bring home a solid finish. This team is working really hard and we will win a race here soon."