[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”217″][/media-credit]Racing is sometimes a mix of highs and lows and this season so far for James Buescher has been full of both ends of the spectrum. At Daytona, he qualified on the outside pole, though he missed the race at Phoenix. He got a top five at Darlington, though finished dead-last after a brake failure at Martinsville.
Buescher is get things back on an upswing this weekend at Nashville and carry that on for the rest of the season as he looks for his first career Camping World Truck Series victory this year.
He took some time during the off-weekend to discuss his season, Turner Motorsports and more.
Ashley McCubbin: What are your thoughts on the season so far?
James Buescher: We’ve had an up-and-down season so far. We started up at Daytona as we started on the outside-pole and led a bunch of laps and finished in the top 10 even with getting wrecked. Then we went off to Phoenix and missed the race and that was a pretty downer. Went to Darlington and finished first in one of the practices and second in the other one, qualified in the top 10 and finished fifth. Our season was back-up and we caught back-up in the points. Then we went to Martinsville and had a brake failure and hit the wall halfway through the race and it went back down again as we finished dead last. Hopefully we can get a good finish in Nashville and get it back up and hopefully recover during the rest of the year for the bad races we’ve had so far.
AM: What are your some of your thoughts heading into Nashville?
JB: For Nashville, I feel like we’ve struggled there in the past. I never felt like I’ve ran really stout there and it’s one of those tracks on my list of tracks that I really need to focus on and get better at. I felt like Martinsville was another one that I needed to get better at as I’d never finished in the top 10. This year, I felt I was as strong as I’ve ever been before we crashed so I feel like going to Nashville, I’ve never ran in the top 10 there and somewhere I’ve kind of struggled, but we really focused hard on Martinsville and got better. So it gives me confidence heading into the weekend to now focus hard and figure out something with regards to set-up and something for me, a better way to drive the track, whatever it is. I don’t know what’s its been, whether the trucks haven’t been good or what, but I got some confidence going in there. Hopefully we can get a good finish.
AM: What are some of your thoughts with regards to the competition level in the Camping World Truck Series?
JB: I think it’s pretty up, even better than last year. You’ve got teams like Turner Motorsports and KHI (Kevin Harvick Inc) and a lot of teams have added a team to their fleight of trucks and Germain added a couple, too. KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) is suppose to run a second truck in a couple races and ThorSport is adding a third truck, so all of these teams that are pretty much running up front on a regular basis and battling for top fives and win are all adding trucks to their teams so its just growing competition level in the Camping World Truck Series and I think it’s definitely on an upswing, which is good for the sport.
AM: Speaking of KBM adding a third truck, what are some of your thoughts on Kimi Raikkonen coming into series?
JB: I really don’t know much about Kimi Raikkonen. I know he was a world champion in F1 and you got to know how to drive to that so he’s got driving talent and it’s just about how fast can he adapt to these trucks and stock cars. From what I’ve heard about his testing, he is adapting really quickly. You see Juan Pablo Montoya and those guys, some of those world drivers getting the hang of it and running really well, so he could another Juan Pablo Montoya, he could better or he could be worse. I really don’t know what to expect because you have some of those world guys that come in here and don’t run really good, and then you have those guys who take the bull by the horns and run up front.
AM: What are some of your thoughts on working with your teammates Brad Sweet and Ricky Carmichael?
JB: I mean, Carmichael and Brad and I are really close and we’re doing really well. I can go talk to one of my teammates right after practice or after qualifying and compare what my truck was doing in one spot and see if they’re having the same problem as me or if they’re good in those spots. We can compare set-ups and notes and feedback on the trucks and all work together to get all of us better. I think it’s good to having teammates you can go talk to and normally with a big team like that, you go talk to one or the other. I can feel like I can go talk to any of teammates on the trucks or Nationwide side and see what my truck or car is doing compared to their’s and work together.
AM: How’d you originally get involved with Steve Turner and Turner Motorsports?
JB: I first started driving for Steve back in 2005 in Legends. My first race was actually at Houston Motorsports Park in Texas in 2005. I was racing legends car against his daughter Kris Turner, who is now my fiancé. I broke a rear-end housing in practice and asked him if I could burrow her back-up car and she let me burrow it and I went racing. I’ve driven for him ever since so it’s been a long couple of years and it’s been six years now and ran every bit of it for him. I’ve raced late models, ARCA, Hooters Pro Cup, Truck and Nationwide for him. He has grown as a car owner as I’ve grown as a driver, kind of at the same speed and it’s been pretty cool to that have consistent team my whole career and have the same people around me.
AM: What are some of the differences between the Nationwide cars and trucks?
JB: The trucks have a lot of drag. Places like Texas and Charlotte and these mile-and-a-half tracks, we can hold them wide open for a lot of laps in the race. Sometimes we can hold them wide-open for the entire race; it just depends on our race truck and how much grip there is. The Nationwide cars don’t seem to have as much drag as the trucks have. It’s more similar, but still not able to hold it wide-open like a truck, and I think everybody are still learning the changes they can make on these new Nationwide cars. They seem to act a little different when you add track-bar, wedge, that sort of thing, and it’s just kind of hard to get your hands around what changes that you need during the race. The more you race them, the more you learn, and I think a year from now they’ll be as far along as the trucks with knowing all the changes and what helps the most and get as much grip as possible and maybe we’ll be able to hold them wide open at places like Texas and Charlotte for a long period of time.
AM: What track would it mean a lot to you to win at?
JB: Texas would be cool to get my first win at. I’d like to think that we could win a race before we get to Texas this summer, but that would be pretty cool as it is my home track. There’s five race tracks at that facility and I’ve won at four out of five in different series, in Legends cars and what not, but it’d be pretty cool to say that I’ve won at all five tracks at my home track. That’s where I started racing and that’s where I grew up and going out there every weekend racing Legends and Bandoleros and I was at the first Cup race that was ran there so that kind of tells you how long I have been going to that place. It’d be certainly cool to win in front of my home town crowds and all my family and friends.
AM: Speaking of racing memories, what is your first racing memory?
JB: One that comes to mind is the first championship I ever won in a Bandolero car at Sunny Side Raceway in Mobile, Alabama, and I sat on the pole for the Bandolero National race – sat on the pole and led every lap of the main event – and that was my second year of racing so that was pretty cool to able to do that. That’s the beginning of a lot that I’ve done in racing.
AM: And what is your favourite racing memory?
JB: That’s a tough one. It’d be winning at Daytona in the ARCA Series. Daytona is a big one is on everyone’s checklist that they want to win and to win in my first start there, pretty much dominating the race and leading the most laps there, that’s a pretty cool place to win and to win there in my first time trying is pretty cool.
AM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JB: I’d like to say that I would be in the Cup Series, be at the Cup or Nationwide level. I’d like to say that I’d have a Truck or Nationwide championship by then and competing up front in the Cup Series.
AM: Lastly, what is some advice that you have for drivers trying to get into racing?
JB: Don’t move too quickly. If drivers are trying to get to the NASCAR level or ARCA or anything from whatever level you’re at, don’t move up to a series before you’re ready. You see a lot of guys go Nationwide racing when they’ve only had two ARCA starts or something and they don’t make it and you only get one shot at this, so you got to make the most of your opportunities and don’t advance before you’re ready to advance and you should be pretty solid.