James Buescher came into the SFP 250 at Kansas Speedway as the defending race winner, and for a while, it looked like Buescher was going to repeat as race winner. Starting from the pole, Buescher quickly shot off to the lead and collected valuable championship bonus points in the process. With a late-race pit stop, Buescher and the Rheem team elected to take four tires, which put him 20th in the 36-truck field. After some daring restart moves, Buescher worked his way back up to inside the top three. While dealing with lapped traffic and some close competition, Buescher fell back outside the top five to sixth, where he eventually finished. This is Buescher’s first top ten of the 2013 season.
The No. 31 Rheem team unloaded fast off the trailer and set the benchmark for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series return to the newly repaved 1.5-mile oval Kansas Speedway. Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team paced both practice sessions on Friday, and when it came to qualifying on Saturday morning, Buescher followed up his practice sessions and set quick time, along with a new track record, in the process of his first pole since 2011.
When the SFP 250 got the green flag on Saturday afternoon, Buescher wasted no time from his number one starting position and jumped out to an early race lead. By lap seven, Buescher had already opened up a half-second lead over second place. The race slowed on Lap 14 for its first of 11 yellow flags. Buescher and the No. 31 Rheem team took advantage of the yellow flag and ducked down pit road for fuel and a small chassis adjustment. Buescher restarted the event in the second spot behind TSM teammate Miguel Paludo. During the restart, Buescher and Paludo battled side-by-side for the race lead with Buescher eventually taking the top spot. It was on lap 34 when, while racing off of four, Buescher and teammate Paludo made slight contact, sending Paludo into the wall. On lap 61, Buescher saw his next challenger contend for the race lead. Buescher relinquished the race lead, dropping back to the second spot, and started to conserve fuel until his next pit stop on lap 71.
During the green-flag pit stop, the Rheem team took four tires and filled up the No. 31 with Sunoco race fuel. Buescher dropped to 20th running position and started to work his way back up to the front. It didn’t take Buescher long, as by lap 89, he had already cracked the top five. After another yellow flag on lap 91, Buescher made a great move down the backstretch to put him back in the runner-up position, and found himself once again challenging for the race lead. With just over fifty laps to go, Buescher brought the Rheem Chevy back down pit road for their final pit stop and took four fresh Goodyear Wrangler tires and Sunoco fuel. With many different strategies up and down pit road, Buescher was the lead truck on the track that took four tires. Buescher used those fresh tires to make a four-wide pass entering turn one and effectively went from tenth to fifth in just one lap. Nearing the end of the 167 lap race, the competition started to catch up to Buescher, and the No. 31 Rheem team challenging him for the top five. With fierce battles with multiple competitors, Buescher gave it his all to bring home a top five, but fell just short by one position, bringing the Rheem Chevrolet home in the sixth position, giving the team its first top ten of the year. During the SFP 250, Buescher collected the most laps led with 55 earning him a second bonus point in the 2013 championship battle.
“I can’t thank my guys enough for all the hard work they put in to this Rheem Chevrolet for this weekend,” said Buescher. “We had a fast Rheem Silverado all weekend and I felt like we had a legitimate shot at the win, but our last set of tires didn’t have the grip like our previous set. I feel like we are gaining on the competition and I feel like we will be in victory lane soon. “
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action again on May 17th when they visit the 1.5-mile intermediate track of Charlotte Motor Speedway.