BROOKLYN, MI — To say James Buescher’s 2013 season has been a disappointment would be an understatement.
After winning the 2012 Camping World Truck Series championship, the majority of the 2013 season has seen Buescher fight for top-10 and top-five finishes at places where he fought for wins in 2012.
Heading into Saturday Michigan National Guard 200, Buescher had only finished in the top-10 in five of the 11 races. Only two of those five top-10’s saw Buescher place in the top-five.
“It’s no secret that it’s not the season we’ve been expecting,” Buescher said.
If Buescher wanted to keep his chances alive to be the first repeat champion in Truck Series history, he would have to win soon.
When the green flag dropped Saturday afternoon, Buescher started the race from third with his Turner Scott Motorsports teammate, Jeb Burton, on the pole after blistering the single-lap qualifying record set by Joey Coulter in August, 2012.
From the start of the race, it appeared as though Burton had the truck to beat. Leading the race on three different occasions for a race-high 41 laps, Burton looked to have one of the few trucks that could run with Kyle Busch throughout the course of the race.
As is typically the case when Busch competes in the Truck Series, he was one of the main forces that the series regulars had to pass if they wanted to score the victory.
Busch, who held command of the race throughout most of the race’s late stages, led four times for a total of 33 laps around the two-mile oval but was forced to fight off seemingly the entire field when the final restart came with six laps remaining.
Starting alongside a hungry Miguel Paludo, Busch pulled out into the lead of the race by the middle of the backstretch. But his time at the front was short lived.
Looking for his first Truck Series win since 2003, Brendan Gaughan was closing fast on the No.51 Toyota of Busch.
When it appeared it would be either Busch or Gaughan picking up the win, Buescher made a daring three-wide pass at the entrance of turn three and cleared the pair off turn four.
“When I got the run on [Gaughan], my plan was to pass [Gaughan]. It just worked out were I passed [Gaughan] and [Busch],” Buescher said about the final laps.
“Kyle went down to throw a block and got loose from entering as low as he did. The position my truck was probably didn’t help his loose but I was committed and kept my foot in the throttle.”
Busch kept with Buescher through the final laps trying to make a run at the No.31 Chevrolet, but it was to no avail as Buescher would go on to win the Michigan National Guard 200.
“I thought we had one of the fastest trucks, but certainly you have to be a Chevrolet to be faster,” said Busch who didn’t see Buescher as a factor on the final restart.
The win was the sixth of Buescher’s career in the Truck Series and his first at Michigan International Speedway.
Buescher now sits third in the series standings, 52 points behind leader Matt Crafton who has finished inside the top-10 in all Camping World Truck Series events in 2013.
Michigan National Guard 200 Unofficial Results
- James Buescher
- Kyle Busch
- Ty Dillon
- Joey Logano
- Miguel Paludo
- Timothy Peters
- John Wes Townley
- Brendan Gaughan
- Matt Crafton
- Jeb Burton
- Ron Hornady Jr.
- Brennan Newberry
- Dakoda Armstrong
- Joey Coulter
- Ryan Sieg
- Bryan Silas
- Brett Moffitt
- Max Gresham
- German Quiroga
- Johnny Sauter
- Darrell Wallace Jr.
- Norm Benning
- Mike Harmon
- JJ Yeley
- Jennifer Jo Cobb
- Chris Lafferty
- Chris Jones
- Jake Crum
- Scott Riggs
- Danny Efland
- Todd Peck
- Ryan Blaney