It’s been 13 years since the Camping World Truck Series has left and right on a race track and the defending series champion says that a race on a road course is long overdue.
“I think it’s long over due for the truck series,” James Buescher commented. “You look at every NASCAR series – K&N, Cup, Nationwide, Canadian Tire Series, Mexico, Europe – every series was racing on the road courses except the trucks. I thought it was quite overdue.”
Buescher says the last time the trucks were on the road course, he was only 10, but looking at pictures, he’s excited.
“It seemed like it’d be a lot of fun to do in a truck,” he commented. “I think there should be a couple road courses on the truck schedule and I think it would help get our truck schedule back up to 25 races.”
With the added addition of it being in Canada this weekend, that only sweetens the pot in the eyes of this 23-year-old.
“I think it’s good that we’re back up here and having the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series here, I think we should be here,” he said. “There’s a lot of Canadian NASCAR fans. For the truck series to carry that banner this year, I think it’s pretty cool.”
As far as on track, Buescher is off to a solid start as he ranked 13th in the first practice with a lap of 84.343 seconds behind the wheel of his No. 31 Eliminator Chevrolet, 1.548 seconds off of the quick time set by Mike Skeen.
“Our Eliminator Chevy was decent off the truck – tight in the left handers, loose in the right handers and it’s hard to get used to talking about it in a way,” he said following the first practice. “It’s different for us, it’s different for the crew – it’s different for the truck series in general. So I felt like we had a pretty productive first practice. Gained some speed every time we went out and shows that we’re still learning the race track and road course racing in general.”
His words proved to be true in the fact that he was continuing to get better with more laps as he was then ninth in the second practice at lap of 82.839 seconds, 1.390 seconds off of Skeen’s quick time. Buescher knows that he has spots where he can continue to improve on to continue to get quicker.
“I know a lot of areas that I can improve – probably about half the corners,” he said. “So it’s just going to be gaining experience lap after lap and following some guys is always helpful. Going back and watching the video is helpful too, and working on breaking down the corners with my teammates and stuff is going to be helpful. I feel there is a lot more to gain, but I feel pretty good about we’ve learned and our chances this weekend.”
Buescher comes into the weekend with limited road course experience. He ran the Nationwide Series race at Road America earlier this year, finishing 14th. He also has experience from his seasons in the ARCA Racing Series. That’s one of the reasons why he decided to race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race, which will be run on Sunday morning prior to the truck race.
“The biggest thing is the more laps,” he said. “Every lap I make, everytime I went out, I got faster every time. So I feel like the more laps I can get, the better prepared I will be for our race. we have a Canadian tire practice before the truck practice, we qualify the cars before the trucks and we race before the trucks so you kind of see how firsthand the races play out and where you will make your passes. You can only simulate so much in practice because once in race conditions, it changes a whole lot.”
Buescher says the key will be to learn how to make passes during the NCATs race so that can carry over to the truck race that afternoon. He will be running the NCATs race as a teammate to Scott Steckly; Steckly currently leads the NCATs points, four points over D.J. Kennington.
“I’ve never watched one of those races,” Buescher commented. “I went to his shop yesterday and sat in the car and made sure everything fit good and got to know some of his guys, but I don’t know anything about it. I don’t even know how many laps the race was.”
Buescher says beyond just running the race, having Steckly as someone to lean on for advice will be key.
“He’s got a lot more laps here than I do, for sure,” Buescher commented. “So anybody I can lean on that knows how to get around here will be helpful. In practice my last run, I actually followed Mike Skeen around here. I didn’t gain much time, but I saw a lot of things I was doing wrong so definately room for improvement on a lot of aspects of the track. So definitely more track time and surrounding myself with people that can be informative to myself and my team can’t hurt.”
It will be important for Buescher to have a good run as after some bad luck to start the year, Buescher has turned his season around and sits second in points, 49 points behind Matt Crafton.
“People say we’re back in the title hunt, but I don’t think we ever fell out,” he said. “We’re just closer to the top now and plenty of racing left to go; we’re just past halfway.”
That’s why well some are considering this race a wild card, Buescher doesn’t see it that way as he feels that if he can get enough experience, he could possibly gain points this weekend.
“The realistic goal of any race that you can’t win is to gain as many points as you can and get the best finish that you can,” he commented. “I’m not the best road racer in the world; I do okay at them. I feel our track record in the Natiownide Series as a organization has been pretty good. They’ve won several over the last couple of years and that carries over to the truck series. I feel we have some solid trucks.
“Miguel (Paludo) was faster than the rest of us in practice this morning and be able to lean on him a little bit and get caught up to speed and maybe have a shot at a win or a top five finish. I think we need to just have a solid day and come out with a solid finish.”