Perseverance paid off. On Saturday night before approximately 25,000 fans at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The Turner Motorsports #31 Chevrolet driven by James Buescher came from two laps down to grab the victory at the very end of what was essentially a green-white-checkers finish. And what a finish it was.
Justin Lofton had the pole and led some early laps but for the most part veteran NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, who was never out of the top five all evening, had the Truck to beat for most of the night during the American Ethanol 225.
The 37 year old Gaughan used to be a series regular until this season but had not won a Truck race in nine years. Gaughan led the most laps during the race in the Richard Childress Racing prepared #2 Chevrolet. But this wasn't to be his night. That belonged to a somewhat unforeseen winner in 22 year old James Buescher.
"We had issues"
Buescher started with an ambiguous 11th starting spot on the grid and seem to be just running along dipping in and out of the Top 10 for the first part of the race. Buescher stated about his problems in the first part of the race: "We had issues early on where we kept losing power, so we decided to pit, changed the carburetor and the car came to life." The #31 team frantically replaced the carburetor while sitting on pit row and lost two laps in the process.
With 50 laps left, Buescher was outside the top 20 with a mighty huge hill to climb but climb he did … and fast. Timing of pit stops permitted him to get one of his laps back and a yellow allowed Buescher to become the 'Lucky Dog'. Now he was on the lead lap with less than 40 laps remaining.
Cautions aided Buescher as he climb his way up into the top five and finally the lead while battling points leader Timothy Peters. It should be noted Peters had to start the race near the back after an engine change prior to the event - but he was a top five car by midway in the race.
On a final two lap restart to the finish, Buescher and Peters were on the front row and battled side by side for a lap-and-a-half before Buescher pulled into first. Gaughan was able to slip by Peters with half a lap left to get second place. Peters was third, followed by Matt Crafton fourth with Parker Kligerman rounding out the top five.
The finish line saw #9 Ron Hornaday Jr. cross sideways after appearing he might end up with a hard fought fifth. But his tail-end was wiggling coming out of turn four and before he could gather his truck back up, Hornaday had slid in front of Cale Gale (who was sixth) turning Hornaday's #9 Chevrolet.(Source - YouTube)
The race had quite a few yellows in the second half and that, in part, helped Buescher continue to make it all the way to the front. And for that effort, he's now only 35 points out of first with still more than half the season to go - Buescher sits fourth in the standings. Peters leads second place Ty Dillon by 23 points with Lofton, who finished 21st, 30 points back in third place overall. Kligerman is fifth in the standings, 49 behind Peters.
Before this season, Buescher had never won in any of NASCAR's three national touring series'. But with his Chicago victory, Buescher now has the most Truck wins in 2012 with three.
There was plenty of crazy racing on this July 21st night at Chicagoland with cars coming and going with Buescher doing more than most. Said Buescher afterwards of his persevering charge to the front: "We didn't waste any time when we caught anybody. There are sometimes I felt like it was not the best moves I made. A lot of them probably could have ended up in some crashes, but I knew I had to pass (about) 20 trucks in 40 laps."
Just another wild night of Truck racing.
Source - NASCAR, Racing Reference
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- James Buescher
- Brendan Gaughan
- Timothy Peters