For Chris Buescher, it hasn’t been the easiest road making it to the top in racing, from moving to North Carolina at the age of 15 without his parents to live with the Ragans, to the beginning stages of stockcar racing in the ARCA Series.
“There’s been countless hours, many all nighters so we could make sure that we’d get to the next ARCA race,” Buescher recalled. “Done so many different things to get this point and to finally get here is really special. It’s very humbling. It makes you realize how much work those guys did back in the day to make this happen. I can’t imagine when the drivers was the hauler driver and the amount of hours, on top of having a real job. It’s impressive.”
There was also the time that Buescher worked behind the scenes at Roush Fenway Racing, versus being behind the wheel as Jack Roush felt it was a good way to make the young driver appreciate his equipment. Buescher recalled the time he spent in the GrandAm shop, going to victory lane at Daytona as a mechanic. He also recalled how much he hated metric tools, and stated that the carbon shop was a whole new experience.
“There is a lot that goes into carbon brakes that nobody will ever see,” he commented. “Lots of respect for that. Not the most fun work – very repetitive. You come in at 6 am, start cutting carbon up, lay in the mold and put it in the oven all day. That was probably my least favourite part. I learned a lot. It was humbling. I got to help out others and talk to a couple different drivers, got to talk road racing with a couple and it helped me a lot in my career.”
Everything paid off as Buescher scored only two finishes outside of the top-15 in 2015 to score the XFINITY Series Championship 15 points ahead of Chase Elliott. The key to Buescher’s season wasn’t pure speed, but consistency, and he says that comes with making sure that he always has a car for the end of the race and having respect for his fellow competitors. He’s not the driver to put a fellow driver in a position on a restart that he wouldn’t appreciate if the roles were reversed.
Since capturing the title, he has had many individuals in the sport come up to congratulate him.
“This is a very small community – the racing world is – it’s so cool to have everybody come up and say something,” he commented. “When you have Roger Penske and Samantha Busch, it’s amazing to have everybody here and take notice of the hard work that went into this night.”
Buescher was honored for his championship last Monday, getting to say a speech up on stage. He said it was definitely a nervous experience, but one that he enjoyed; it was also his first time using a teleprompter. With 11 different sponsors throughout the season, he didn’t want to forget anybody so felt it was better to say a pre-written speech versus trying to say it off the top of his head.
With the experience behind him, the doors have started to open for next year as Buescher commented at the banquet that he does have some different possibilities, some pertaining to the Cup Series and some pertaining to the XFINITY Series, for 2016. The next couple of weeks will be determining which of those is the best fit moving forward.