James Buescher cruised to Victory Lane for the first time in his career Saturday at Kansas Speedway, leading 103 of 167 laps to give Turner Motorsports back-to-back victories in the Camping World Truck Series. Buescher continues a long streak of top 3 finishes after coming home third at Martinsville, second at Rockingham, and now first at Kansas Speedway. Points leader Timothy Peters finished second, over five seconds behind Buescher, and maintained the points lead post-race with the finish. Right behind Peters was Sprint Cup Series regular Brad Keselowski, who managed to bring his charity-sponsored truck home third after leading 19 laps. Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Todd Bodine rounded out the top 5.
Tim George, Jr. started on the pole, but was unable to lead any laps as Jason Leffler stole the lead and was able to hold it for the first five laps. He held it for the first three laps before the first caution flag flew when Jeb Burton spun in turn one.
As the race went back green, Leffler lost the lead to Jason White. White managed to hold the top spot for the next 27 laps, but was unable to hold off the charging Buescher who was the class of the field all day. Buescher, who started in the sixth position, passed White on lap 34 and held the top spot until the caution flew for debris in turn four on lap 37. At this time, it looked like White might be in trouble as water was spewing from his radiator. While White was able to continue on in the race, he was unable to recover from the incident and finished a disappointing 19th.
While the leaders pitted under the lap 37 caution, Chad McCumbee was able to stay out and lead a lap before pitting. As the leaders made their stops, it looked like Buescher was going to win the race off of pit road, but Todd Bodine was able to slightly nose out ahead of him. Bodine wouldn’t hold onto it very long, though, as Buescher took the lead as soon as the green flag flew again.
Buescher wasn’t able to enjoy the view for very long, however, as a major accident occurred behind him in turn four. While Paulie Harraka was battling Ron Hornaday, Jr. for position, Harraka slid up into the No. 9 truck of Hornaday and the two spun in front of the pack. Innocent victims of the accident were Brennan Newberry, Russ Dugger, and David Starr. While Harraka and Hornaday were both able to continue racing, Dugger, Newberry, and Starr were all done for the day and were evaluated and released from the infield care center. Hornaday was able to recover and finish sixth while Harraka was scored 27th, nine laps down.
When the race resumed green on lap 49, Buescher was able to hold off a hard charging Bodine for the next eight laps before yet another yellow flag flew. While racing with Cale Gale, the No. 24 truck of Max Gresham started wiggling in turn one while trying to make a pass underneath Gale. Gresham was unable to hold onto the truck and spun up into turn 2 wall. He would eventually finish 22nd.
Again racing resumed and Buescher held the lead until a round of green flag pit stops began around lap 95 as Leffler coasted around the backstretch and onto the apron of turns 3 and 4 after running out of fuel. He was able to make it to pit road and avoid causing a caution, and Buescher pitted shortly after. In doing so, he handed the lead to Hornaday who stayed out until a caution flew for the final time for debris in turn 2 on lap 99.
Any remaining trucks that hadn’t yet made a stop did so under the caution, giving Buescher back the lead under yellow. The restart was waved off several times to fix some scoring errors, including when Joey Coulter tried to jump in front of the leaders as a wave around. He eventually had to stop in turns 3 and 4 to get back in line after NASCAR made him aware of the situation.
When the race finally resumed on lap 104, Buescher had the lead but quickly lost it to Brad Keselowski. Keselowski was able to pull away from Buescher for several laps before Buescher tried a higher lane and was able to catch him. It took Buescher several laps to get around the No. 19, but eventually Keselowski got loose heading onto the backstretch, and Buescher was able to take advantage and grab the lead back.
As the teams got closer and closer to their next and final stop, and it looked obvious they were likely going to have to make a green flag stop, Buescher’s team began debating how many tires to take. As several drivers began making their green flag stops, a variety of strategies were seen and the No. 31 team opted to take four tires. Buescher relinquished the lead on lap 149 to pit, handing the lead once again to Hornaday. Bodine and Dakoda Armstrong were able to lead laps during the green flag stops, until it cycled back around to Keselowski.
Keselowski was no match for Buescher, who obviously had the strongest truck of the day, as Buescher took the lead for the final time on lap 157. Buescher cruised to his first career Camping World Truck Series victory.
“These guys did a heck of a job building this Progenex Chevy,” said Buescher in Victory Lane. “Hats off to these guys. It’s a brand new truck. … These Turner Motorsports trucks are pretty awesome. Two in a row is saying something!”
“James did an excellent job,” said third-place Keselowski after the race. “His truck was hauling and he hit everything right and did everything right and he deserved to win today.”
The Camping World Truck Series is off for the next three weeks, and returns at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 18th. Coverage begins at 7:30 PM ET on SPEED.
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