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Buescher breaks dry spell; Bodine OK after wreck

April 20, 2013, Kenny Bruce and Holly Cain,

Defending champion relieved after caution-laden race

Related: SFP 250 results | Coverage from Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. –- Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher scored his first top-10 of the season Saturday, coming home sixth in the SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway.

In an event that saw the caution flag fly 11 times, and 18 of the 36 starters in the field sidelined by crashes, parts failures or other maladies, Buescher didn’t exactly arrive at the checkered flag unscathed.

Running up front alongside Turner Scott Motorsports teammate Miguel Paludo, both trucks broke loose and trouble ensued on Lap 34 of the 167-lap race.

“I told them before the restart to make sure (Paludo) keeps plenty of room (between us) because when I was outside of him, I had left a truck width between us I felt like, and he was still getting loose underneath me,” Buescher said afterward. “I wanted to make sure he was going to give me some room to keep some air on the right side so I wouldn’t get loose and he didn’t. I got loose and the end result was him being out of the race and almost us.

"It was a close call for us and I hate it for him."

-- James Buescher on spinning teammate Miguel Paludo

“It was a close call for us and I hate it for him. It’s part of the way this racing is; I’m assuming that’s how every caution happened today.”

Paludo’s truck suffered terminal damage and left him 31st in the finishing order. Buescher was able to soldier on, his truck not much worse for wear.

“It was treacherous to be inside of people; you get loose, slide around, can’t make any moves,” he said. “The race track is so slick with the hard tire they’ve got.”

The end result did improve Buescher’s points position -- he’s now sixth after four races but 41 points behind leader Johnny Sauter.

“Relieved to finally get a top-10,” said Buescher, who led four times for a race-high 55 laps. “We can’t seem to have anything go our way this year. But it’s a step in the right direction. Sat on the pole and led some laps. We had a fast truck; everybody was just (running) single-file, nobody could make any passes. At least out my windshield nobody was making any passes.”

Matt Crafton, Sauter’s ThorSport Racing teammate, won the race.

• Veteran Todd Bodine endured the hardest hit of the day when contact from Brennan Newberry sent Bodine’s Toyota slamming into the wall coming out of Turn 2. After sliding back down across the track, Bodine was hit by Bryan Silas.

The race was red-flagged for 12 minutes and 46 seconds.

“Brennan got loose, got sucked around,” Bodine said. “I gave him a lot of room. He doesn’t have a lot of experience so he doesn’t understand what to do in that position. He arced it way in the corner, which you can’t do; tried to hold it wide open, which you can’t do. He left too much room at the bottom. There was three feet between us, I was against the gray (up top), I couldn’t go any higher.”

Darrell Wallace Jr. is trying his best to be patient and smart as he chases his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win.

He took another shot at it Saturday at Kansas, scoring his second top-10 of the season and moving up a position in the championships standings.

Wallace's No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota led twice for eight laps and ran among the top five late in the race en route to a seventh-place finish. It was good enough to move him up to eighth in the points standings, 47 behind leader Sauter and 14 behind fellow rookie Ryan Blaney.

But Wallace, of course, wanted more.

"That last restart got us. I moved up maybe an inch or two off the bottom and the nose just took off and we lost all track position there and had to fight back,” Wallace said. "We got a couple (positions) back, but still a good run for the Liberty Tire Toyota Tundra to come home seventh in my first mile-and-a-half track. It's nothing to hang my head about. It was good.

"I didn't know really what to expect. The restarts are always wild and they sure were today. It's all stuff I've got to learn, but we'll get better and we'll get em' next time.''

• NASCAR officials confiscated the fuel cell from Sauter’s entry Thursday. Any penalties that might result would be announced early next week.

Sauter, twice a winner this season, leads Crafton by 12 points (174-162) in the standings.


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