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Buescher ready for season of change

Jeff Birchfield • Feb 5, 2018 at 5:53 PM

DANDRIDGE — There are a lot of big changes for Chris Buescher's JTG Daugherty Racing team this season and the driver of the No. 37 Chevrolet is ready for them.

The team has switched its technical alliance from Richard Childress Racing to Hendrick Motorsports, although they're still running EGR engines. In his second season racing Chevrolets, the brand has switched from the SS model to the Camaro ZL1 as its Monster Energy Cup Series cars.

"We've had big change to the offseason and we got on the track to test a few days ago," Buescher said. "We built a lot of data from that test, and then with the new alliance, what they've let us see, I think we will be more competitive."

The season starts this weekend with Daytona 500 qualifying.

It's only two months until the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, which is Buescher's favorite track. It doesn't hurt that Buescher has traditionally run well at BMS including a fifth-place finish in the 2016 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, and that JTG Daugherty Racing has a best finish of third at the track with former driver Marcos Ambrose.

"Bristol and Darlington, I love those race tracks," Buescher said. "But, I've run well at Bristol and JTG Daugherty has run well there. Last year, we had a rough go when I pulled a backup car out for the first time in my career which set us behind. When we go back there, we are excited and it's a race we circle as one we can potentially get a win. We had good speed there last year and our race cars should be better this year."

Buescher, a 25-year-old from Texas who moved to North Carolina by himself as a teenager to pursue his racing dream, won the 2012 ARCA Series championship and the 2015 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship driving for famed car owner Jack Roush. He graduated to the Cup Series the next season, but with Roush unable to secure the necessary sponsorship, he moved to Front Row Motorsports where he scored an upset win at Pocono.

Last season, he came over to the JTG Daugherty team, where he recorded four top-10 finishes and ended 25th in the series points.

There is some adjustment this year with the Camaro body and only a couple of tests before the season. However, Buescher believes the car will have better corner entry and have better airflow around race traffic.

And, he feels the challenges of this season are nothing compared to the last one when JTG added the No. 37 as a second team.

"We're not building from scratch at the beginning of the season," Buescher said. "Ninety-five percent of the team is back. The cars are new and we have the new alliance, but it's not like we're building all new equipment. Last year, we had to add equipment, personnel and everything that put us behind.

"We have good communication through the team and we have an understanding of how we're going adjust the car when we get to the race track. It just takes time to build those relationships and that trust and we don't fight through all that this season."

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