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Buescher moves to Nationwide with RAB RAcing

December 13, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com

2012 Camping World Truck Series champion moving to Nationwide Series full time

RAB Racing announced Friday that 2012 Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher will drive the team’s No. 99 Toyota in the Nationwide Series in 2014.

After having to keep the news under wraps for weeks, Buescher was excited to finally be able to declare his plans for next season.

"It’s like getting a new toy for Christmas when you’re a kid and can’t play with it," Buescher told NASCAR.com. "It’s a major career move and not being able to talk about it has been really hard but something things are worth waiting for."

It’s also an emotional move for 23-year old Buescher who has spent the last four years competing for his father-in-law Steve Turner at Turner Scott Motorsports. But all parties agreed it was the best move for Buescher’s career.

Buescher joked, it was a lot harder asking Turner for permission to marry his daughter Kris two years ago than to discuss his leaving the family’s team for another professional opportunity.

"It definitely makes it that much harder to leave Turner Scott Motorsports," Buscher said. "We’ve had a special four years in NASCAR together. It’s tough to walk away from that especially having my father in law the co-owner of the team. I think we all agree though it’s the best opportunity for me to go to next step in my career. It’s definitely going to be a change but everyone agrees it’s the best thing for me to do right now and everyone’s fully on board with it.

"It’s hard, but we’ll still support each other. It’s not something that was going to last forever, we knew that. He’s not in the Sprint Cup Series. Once I’m to that point, I would have had to leave anyway. It’s just a little sooner than we thought it would happen."

Turner reiterated his support for Buescher both personally and professionally.

"I have always been supportive of James and I am very proud of everything that he has accomplished while driving for our team," Turner said.

"I am excited for James and his new opportunities, and everyone at TSM would like to wish him the best in his future endeavors.

"I will always continue to support him and cheer him on as a member of my family, but his departure from Turner Scott Motorsports does not change the passion I have for this team. I love racing and have no plans to diminish my role as a co-owner of our organization. I am looking forward to a successful season in 2014 with a very strong lineup of drivers."

Listening to RAB Racing owner Robby Benton and Buescher speak about the new partnership, it’s hard to tell who thinks they got the better end of the deal. All signs point to a win-win relationship.

RAB Racing had a pair of top-five finishes last year with a rookie driver.

And Buescher has long been considered one of NASCAR’s brightest young talents.

He bested a field filled with Sprint Cup drivers to win the prestigious season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona in 2012.

Last year, he notched another top-five finish (at Daytona, July) in just four NNS starts. In all, Buescher has won two pole positions (at Memphis and Texas), four top-five finishes (the win and three runner-up showings) and 14 top-10s in 58 starts spread out through six years

"The word excited doesn't really cover how we feel," RAB Racing owner Robby Benton said. "James is a NASCAR Champion at the age of 23. He has multiple wins in the Camping World Truck Series and has already won arguably the most prestigious race on our calendar in the Nationwide Series. We're honored to have him join not only our team, but the Toyota family."

For Buescher this is the perfect progression in a career already so successful, it’s easy to forget he’s only 23. He had opportunities to move up to Nationwide last season, but chose to try to defend his Camping World Truck Series championship and become the first driver to ever claim back-to-back series titles.

And he came close, finishing third in the series with a pair of wins (at Michigan and Iowa), a pair of poles (at Kansas and Bowmanville, Ontario) and 14 top-10s.

"We came up a little short in defending the (truck) title, but the goal is to go up to Nationwide Series and follow the natural evolution and then move up the Cup Series," Buescher said. "This is the best opportunity for me to further my career and surround myself with good people and a good organization and a strong team to go out and win some races."

"We’re setting our goals at going out there winning the championship and winning races and sitting on poles. Contending for a championship is the ultimate goal. I know it won’t be easy. It wasn’t easy in the truck series and stepping up to the Nationwide Series, the next level of competition is going to be that much harder, but I feel like we’ll have what it take to make a run."

Buescher said he felt strongly that finally having the chance to run full time in the Nationwide Series could be the deciding factor in his success. It makes sense, when you consider what he was able to accomplish in a limited and sporadic Nationwide schedule driving for multiple teams.

"I think James brings a great deal of confidence along with him," Benton said. "Our 99 program is the same group of guys from the 2013 season, led by Chris Rice. They showed a lot of speed this year with three different drivers and I think it's a perfect scenario to be able to simply plug James into an already established and productive group like that.

"While we're just announcing things today, we've already spent a great deal of time with each other and will test together next week. I feel we're getting the biggest jump start on the upcoming season that we've ever been able to take advantage of and that brings a very high level of enthusiasm to our team."

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