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Buescher holds his own against Cup guys

March 10th, 2014 7:04 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Buescher holds his own against Cup guys

James Buescher isn’t one to complain about the Sprint Cup interlopers who compete in Nationwide Series races.

In fact, the 23-year-old from Plano, Tex., welcomes guys like Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski racing in Saturday’s Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“To be the best, you have to beat the best,” said Buescher, driver of the No. 99 RAB Racing Toyota. “Competing against the Cup guys is good from the aspect that you learn so much from them. I enjoy racing with them and find it a lot of fun.”

It’s probably because Buescher has been able to hold his own against those top drivers. 

He won the Nationwide Series season-opening race at Daytona in 2012, and that same year won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.

He also finds Bristol Motor Speedway fun, although he’s yet to finish in the lead lap in three Nationwide Series starts at Bristol. However, he’s been in competitive in other series at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” including a third in 2008 a Pro Cup Series race.

“I’ve been fortunate to race there since the Hooters Pro Cup days,” he said. “It’s a tough place to race, but I’ve had some good runs there. I had a top-four in the Trucks and have had some fast cars in the past. I’m looking forward to getting there and seeing what we have.”

Every week is new for Buescher, even more than years past after leaving the Truck Series team owned by his father-in-law Steve Turner and moving to the RAB team.

However, Buescher has shown an ability to learn quickly. 

Although he rode motorcycles, four-wheelers and go karts, he didn’t start racing until he was 12 years old, a late start for the modern NASCAR driver. While he admitted to being behind the eight-ball at first, he quickly progressed behind the wheel of a Bandeloro race car.

“The Bandeloros and Legends cars are great as a driver to learn chassis set-ups and how to put a race together,” he said. “You learn the car control in that kind of short-track racing, and you’re able to build on that knowledge when you move up the next level to late models.

“If I knew then what I know know, I would probably been even more consistent at every level of racing. The racing gets a lot more complex, the higher levels you get.”

He talked about consistency and that has been the major mark of his career to this point. In 2011, he scored 19 top-10 finishes in 24 Truck Series races. Each of the past two seasons, he posted 14 top-10 finishes in 22 races

To him, a driver can make a bigger difference on a day when the machine isn’t at its best than a day when he wins in dominating fashion.

“There are situations where you want to call it quits when you’re having a terrible day and everything seems to go wrong,” he said. “But, you have to go all the way until the checkered flag falls. I look back at Chicago in 2012. We had a carburetor issue in the Truck Series. We were able to catch a caution, ease down pit road and fix the carburetor. We lost two laps in process, but we fought our way back and won the race. Just because your day isn’t looking great at the beginning, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to end well. You just have to fight to the finish, and you have to finish the race to win it.”

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