After first win, Buescher brimming with confidence
August 21, 2014, Brad Norman, NASCAR.com
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After not qualifying for the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway in February, Buescher received a tangible result as proof of his resurgence -- a victory last week at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In his customary No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Buescher beat-and-banged his way past Brian Scott and Regan Smith for his first career win, a moment that both gave the driver and his team validation while also demonstrating the tremendous talent -- and depth -- of this year's rookie class.
"We took a blow there at the beginning of the year," Buescher said. "That was tough. It's not that we weren't fast enough, just the weather and new qualifying format, everything worked against us there. That was a really tough weekend.
"Obviously that hurt us in the points right away. It put us in a hole we've been trying to claw our way out of since. We're not out of that hole yet by any means."
Still, he's closer to the top of said hole than the bottom. With exactly zero points following the first race, Buescher has been grinding his way up the standings since. His victory keeps him at seventh -- probably still too far back to make a title push, he said, but enough to thrust his name into the discussion of this year's heralded rookie class.
Points leader Chase Elliott and fourth-place Ty Dillon both rank higher than Buescher based off their results … and perhaps dominate the rookie conversation, in part, because of their particular pedigrees.
The 18-year-old Elliott owns three victories this year and Dillon's win came at fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Those moments have come with Buescher toiling to make his way both through the field and up the standings.
Now the 21-year-old Texas native has a victory to match those two drivers, who were already part of the first rookie class since 2005 to produce multiple drivers with victories, a list that now swells from two to three.
"We knew we had the speed, the talent, to do it and beup there in that rookie class," Buescher said. "Ty's got his win, Chase has his several … it's just cool to be added to that group. We've got a very stout field of rookies so it's been tough every week. Not only do you have those (Sprint) Cup guys and those other veterans, but you have those rookies you have to outrun as well.
"It's a very, very impressive field. It makes us all better, though, and makes that first win that much better as well."
So, what did the first win change for Buescher? Not a whole lot, he said. That was obvious when he rolled into the shop Monday morning at 6:30, same as he always does.
Perhaps the biggest benefit was simply executing something the team knew it could do all along. And knocking that first win out of the way could clear the decks for another to follow.
"Short tracks have pretty much been our strong suit this year, and we're coming here trying to repeat," Buescher said. "We know we can do it now. It was just a matter of getting that first one out of the way.
"We're going to get some more speed out of our cars and win some more races this year."