For a racing series as competitive as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, a 21-point lead in the standings must seem like a substantial edge. Even with that sort of advantage and a favorable track looming on the schedule this weekend, James Buescher isn't taking anything for granted.
Buescher hopes to stretch his lead with three races left in the season as the truck tour hits Texas Motor Speedway for Friday night's WinStar World Casino 350 (8 p.m. ET, SPEED). The Lone Star State native has reason for optimism in his own backyard -- his four wins are best in the series, and all four have come at high-speed 1.5-mile tracks much like Texas.
Buescher was in contention for victory in the series' last race in Fort Worth, but a late-race tangle with Ty Dillon ended his pursuit. Now Dillon and Buescher are battling for a bigger prize -- their first NASCAR national series championship -- with just those 21 points separating the two.
The more immediate concern for Buescher -- who hails from nearby Plano, just 40 miles east of the track -- is performing well in front of a partisan rooting section.
"It would definitely mean a lot to me to be able to win in front of my hometown crowd," Buescher said. "It's a race track that I've been going to since it opened, and it means a lot to me. It's where I got started in racing. I've spent a lot of time there and all my family and friends will be there, also."
Dillon will try to regroup after a blown tire and contact with the wall last weekend at Martinsville Speedway allowed Buescher to snatch the series lead. Timothy Peters, a two-time winner on short tracks this year, maintains third place, just 25 points off the top.