News & Media

Buescher rolls on at 1.5-milers, sweeps Kentucky

September 22, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

SPARTA, Ky. -- James Buescher made it 2-for-2 for 2012 at Kentucky Speedway, stretching his fuel window to capture Friday night's Kentucky 201.

The 22-year-old Buescher, who also won at the 1.5-mile track back on June 28, captured his fourth overall win of both the season and his Camping World Truck Series career (all on 1.5-mile tracks).


2. Parker Kligerman Toyota
3. Ty Dillon Chevrolet
4. Joey Coulter Chevrolet
5. Brian Scott Toyota

"I wouldn't say it was a dominating performance like the last time we were here [led 119 of 150 laps], but I think we led the most laps and dominated anyway," said Buescher, who indeed led the most laps Friday (64 of the race's 134 circuits around the track). "We've won four races with the same truck and now we're going to dust it off and take it to another mile-and-a-half [next week at Las Vegas]."

The Plano, Texas native won Friday's race the hard way -- taking a bigger gamble than most gamblers might do at some of the nearby casinos along the Ohio River -- by not pitting for fuel in the final 53 laps.

* Final Laps | Victory Lane | Post-Race Reactions

Buescher's Turner Motorsports crew chief, Michael Shelton, made sure his driver saved enough fuel in their Chevrolet at the right time -- particularly on the last caution period from Lap 108 to 111 -- to motor all the way to the checkered flag.

"We should have been at least two [laps] to the good," Shelton said. "James saved fuel for us every way he could, but we were definitely close. It would have been real interesting if it had been a green-white-checker there and where everybody would have been, but fortunately it played out for us."

Buescher, who admitted he wasn't feeling 100 percent in the race, having battled the flu bug for the past three days, came in on Lap 81 for just two right-side tires and fuel to gain an advantage coming out of the pits. The strategy added to the drama when the seventh and final caution of the race occurred on Lap 107 after Jason White wrecked.

With 27 laps to go, Shelton elected to keep Buescher on the track to maintain position, as did his four closest challengers -- pole-sitter Joey Coulter, rookie Ty Dillon, Parker Kligerman and Matt Crafton -- setting up the fuel-mileage outcome. Ironically, none of the leaders ran out of fuel in the final laps.

"I think we were two laps to the good, so maybe two more laps [left]," Dillon said. "We were chancing it there. ... I'm a little bummed about finishing third just because James won, but we've got some speed and some great momentum."

Dillon made a surge toward the front in the final 15 laps, but Buescher's truck was nothing short of flawless, building a nearly 2-second lead before finishing with a 1.292-second winning margin over runner-up Parker Kligerman, who rallied back from an earlier spin.

Dillon finished third, followed by Coulter and Brian Scott in fifth. Dillon now has three top-three finishes in his past three starts: his first career Truck win at Atlanta, a second-place showing last week at Iowa and Friday's third-place outing.

Dillon came into the race atop the point standings, leading Timothy Peters by eight points and Buescher by 11. But Buescher's win significantly tightened things, as Dillon's lead is now only four points over Buescher. Peters, meanwhile, wrecked just before halfway (watch) and finished 21st, dropping to third place in the season standings, now 22 points behind Dillon.

"We battled back and our team showed a lot of resiliency," Dillon said. "I'll take this kind of day any day. Our team really has a lot of momentum going. ... It's not easy to finish three times in a row in the top three -- first, second and third the last three weeks. If we keep doing that, the wins are going to come. We're still a young and learning team and we're going to keep fighting for these wins.

"It was a great race, I thought. We just needed a little bit more speed for the 31 [Buescher]."

"We had one of those nights where just everything that could go against us, even with a fast truck, went against us."



"I think the motor just took a crap."


The threat of heavy rain prior to the start of the race dissipated as the storm front stayed north by about 50 miles, and by the time the green flag fell for the 36 trucks that qualified to race, the skies were relatively clear.

"We knew from the start of the race that there was weather near the track," Kligerman said. "I actually on the pace laps said to my crew to make sure they were up on the weather, especially as we approached halfway, just to make sure that we're not giving anything up. We're not here to just win a race, we're here to win a championship."

Last week's first-time winner at Iowa Speedway, 18-year-old Ryan Blaney, had his own share of excitement even before the race began. During the first of two practice sessions earlier in the day, Blaney lost the handle on his Dodge truck, crashing into the Turn 1 wall. The damage was irreparable, prompting the team to go to a backup truck for the second practice and qualifying, in which Blaney placed 16th.

Even though his backup truck was a handful to drive at times, Blaney still managed to come home with an 11th-place finish.

On Lap 81, Kligerman lost control and went on a single-truck spin down the frontstretch (watch), but with little damage and he was able to continue. Not only that, Kligerman was able to recover, earning his second runner-up and fourth top-five finish in five starts since joining Red Horse Racing.

"We had one of those nights where just everything that could go against us, even with a fast truck, went against us," Kligerman said. "I tried to force the issue and spun out. From there, we were in recovery mode and passed a bunch of trucks on the restart. From there, we just tried to chase down the 31, and just came up a little short."

Buescher regained the lead on Lap 83 and never relinquished it from that point on.

As it turned out, however, the rain that everyone appeared to be watching faded away and the race was able to go the entire scheduled length without even a hint of precipitation.

Making his first start for Turner Motorsports, rookie Dakoda Armstrong had problems that began on the pace laps, when smoke began emitting from his Chevrolet. While he took the green flag, it was pretty clear he was suffering from an engine problem that quickly dropped him from his 20th qualifying spot to 28th in just the first 10 laps.

He eventually came onto pit road and called it a night as the engine suffered irreparable damage.


• James Buescher scored his fourth Truck Series win -- all in 2012 -- in his 88th start.
• James Buescher's four wins leads all drivers this season; all four have come on 1.5-mile tracks.
• James Buescher scored his second win at Kentucky in his sixth start; he also won there in June.
• James Buescher joins Ron Hornaday as the second repeat winner at Kentucky.
• James Buescher has finished in the top 10 in five of his six Kentucky starts.
• James Buescher led three times for 64 laps, including the final 52.
• Turner Motorsports scored its sixth career win, all in 2012, and second win at Kentucky.
• Chevrolet scored its 10th win of 2012 and seventh win at Kentucky (most of all manufacturers).
• Parker Kligerman (second) tied his best career finish for the fifth time.
• Ty Dillon (third) has top three-finishes in the past three races; he leads the points by four over James Buescher.
• Joey Coulter (fourth) has eight top-10s in the past 10 races.
• Brian Scott (fifth) posted his first top-10 finish this season, in his third start.
• Johnny Sauter (sixth) overcame heavy damage from a Lap 21 accident to post only his second top-10 in the past seven races.
• Jake Crum (13th) posted his best career finish.
• Timothy Peters (21st) was involved in an accident on Lap 54; he's lost 51 points to leader Ty Dillon in the past three races and is now in third place in the standings, 26 out.

"I think the motor just took a crap," Armstrong said afterward. "Unfortunately right from the get-go, it was blowing smoke out of the headers. As soon as we took the green, there was no power. It was gone. ... It's really disappointing. Everyone worked real hard to get this thing going."