Reigning UNOH 225 winner James Buescher returned back to Kentucky Speedway, the track where Buescher swept both NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races last season en route to his four wins. After dialing in his Chevrolet Silverado during the two practice sessions Thursday afternoon, Buescher placed the Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.) Chevrolet in the 13th starting position for the 150-lap UNOH 225. When the green flag turned the field loose, Buescher got caught up in a three-wide battle with his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) teammates Jeb Burton and Miguel Paludo. Near the half-way mark of the race, the No. 31 F.O.E. Chevrolet came to life and Buescher worked his way inside the top five. Running fourth for the last green-flag run, Buescher and NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch put on a show for the fans as they had a back-and-forth battle for a podium finish. Buescher came up just inches shy at the line, bringing home the F.O.E. team’s first top-five finish of the season.
Starting the UNOH 225 in the 13th position, Buescher was looking to make it three victories in a row at Kentucky Speedway. Feeling confident after getting their F.O.E. Silverado dialed in after the two practice sessions, Buescher took the green flag for the 150-lap race and quickly started battling for track position. Buescher radioed to the crew just before the first yellow flag on lap 27 that his Silverado was a tick free into the corners and was lacking grip. Buescher ducked down for his first pit stop to take four Goodyear Wrangler Tires and fuel, along with a chassis adjustment to tighten up his F.O.E. Chevy. On the ensuing restart, Buescher made a daring move on the bottom of the field and vaulted himself inside the top 10. This proved to be just the start of Buescher’s climb through the field.
One of the many bright spots of his night, Buescher had another great restart that vaulted him into fourth place as he set his sights on the rest of the top three. Buescher eventually settled into a groove and was logging laps to get to the team’s final pit stop. That pit stop came on lap 108 when crew chief Michael Shelton rolled the dice and called for right-side tires and fuel only. When pulling out of his stall, Buescher barely nicked another competitor that was pulling into his stall. The slight damage didn’t seem to affect Buescher as he continued running down the top three. During the closing laps, Buescher found himself battling for a podium finish but when the checkered flags flew, Buescher came up just shy. He finished in fourth, earning record the No. 31 team’s first top-five finish of the season.
“It was a great night for our Fraternal Order of Eagles team,” said Buescher. “We have been having great runs all season long, but we just haven’t had the finishes we were looking for. I feel like we are finally starting to get the results we deserve, and I am confident that we’ll be in victory lane very soon.”