James Buescher No. 31 NCWTS Post-Race Report: Michigan
James Buescher scored his seventh top-five finish of 2012 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), leading five laps and maintaining the third position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver point standings, just six points outside of the lead. A combination of stellar handling and fuel strategy gave Buescher and the No. 31 Wolf Pack Rentals team the edge needed to finish fifth in the VFW 200.
After opening the weekend with three strong practice sessions, Buescher laid down the eighth quickest lap in qualifying for the 100-lap event at MIS. After taking the green flag, Buescher quickly took over the sixth spot and settled into the lead drafting pack until the first caution of the day waved on lap 14. Crew chief Michael Shelton called Buescher to pit road to top off on Sunoco race fuel under the quickie yellow before restarting in the ninth spot. Racing was wild and three wide after the lap 17 green flag, but Buescher maintained a spot in the top-10 until the yellow waved once again on lap 39 for debris.
Buescher reported to his team that the No. 31 machine felt good and that his number one priority was track position. Shelton called the Texan to pit road for four tires and opted not to make any changes to the handling of the Wolf Pack Rentals truck. With some trucks remaining on the racetrack under yellow, Buescher restarted in 13th on lap 43, and after intense racing brought out two more cautions in quick succession, the 22-year-old maneuvered his truck into fifth by lap 63.
Shelton requested that Buescher save as much fuel as possible in the event that fuel mileage came into play, and the Wolf Pack Rentals Silverado hovered around the top-five as the laps ticked by. Saving fuel permitted Buescher to pit later than most of his competitors as green-flag stops began to cycle through, giving him the opportunity to lead five laps before heading to pit road for his final stop of the day. Unlike most of the leaders who took tires on pit road, Buescher received only fuel and a wedge adjustment in a super fast green-flag stop on lap 89.
Returning to the racing groove with his truck's handling perfected, Buescher was able to advance from ninth to fifth in the closing 11 laps before taking the checkered flag. Buescher's fifth-place finish was his seventh top-five of the season and the ninth of twelve races in which the young driver led at least one lap. Turner Motorsports teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. took the win, capturing the first victory of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career.
James Buescher: "Today was another solid day for the No. 31 Wolf Pack Rentals team, as well as Turner Motorsports as a whole. While it would have been nice to score our fourth win of the season, it was great to see my Turner Motorsports teammate [Nelson Piquet Jr.] get the first win of his Truck Series career. We keep doing everything we need to do in order to earn the points we need to win the championship, and I have no doubt that many more wins and bonus points are to come in the final 10 races of the season. We've got a quick turnaround before we make our way to Bristol, but I've got a great group of guys who will no doubt give me an awesome truck for Wednesday night's race."
Turner Motorsports PR