Buescher holds off field in frenetic finish
September 08, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
James Buescher had a plan and it worked to perfection.
Saving a set of sticker tires for a late-race trip to pit road – after his rivals had exhausted their supply of fresh rubber – pushed the reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion to victory in Sunday's Fan Appreciation 200 at Iowa Speedway.
Buescher took the lead from pole winner Ross Chastain on the first of two green-white-checker restarts at lap 204 and then held off the 20-year-old Ford driver to win his second series race of the season and sixth overall.
Chastain, who led a race-high 116 laps in pursuit of his first NASCAR national series victory, finished .486 seconds behind Buescher's Chevrolet, which led only the final nine laps of overtime which stretched the 200-lap scheduled distance to 212 circuits.
The attempt at a first green-white-checkered finish was set up when Timothy Peters, who led 36 laps, and Buescher made contact on Lap 194. The contact sent Peters up into the wall in an incident that also dented Dillon’s truck -- Buescher, however, suffered no damage.
Ryan Blaney had taken the lead from Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Chastain on the previous restart, but he was caught failing to maintain pace car speed and ordered out of the lead. That put Chastain, the pole sitter, in prime position again when the green flag dropped on Lap 203.
It wasn’t green for long -- Brendan Gaughan cut a tire for the second time on the afternoon, causing a hard wreck with Joey Coulter that brought out the yellow. This time, Buescher was in the lead, and he held Chastain off the rest of the way.
Chase Elliott, meanwhile, had the worst finish of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season -- 31st. Coming off his first career win, Elliott -- who can only race on road courses or tracks 1 mile or shorter due to being 17 years old -- was down to 24th place with ongoing issues when his right rear tire blew, bringing out the caution on Lap 37.
He got into the wall hard and was checked out at the infield care center
“I really don’t know what happened,” Elliott said after being cleared by medical personnel. “I’m not sure if the shock broke or not. About four laps before we wrecked, I thought I we might have a right rear going down.”
Gaughan also had tire trouble; he was running second on Lap 116 when his left front tire blew.
He made it to pit road before a caution was necessary, but as he skidded into his box, his left front went down. His crew team had to make fixes to the truck’s body, in addition to adding four new tires.