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Trucks: Buescher cruises to maiden series win

21 April 2012

It's taken James Buescher 76 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts to make it to victory lane, but when the moment came it looked like he'd been doing it for years.

Buescher's success makes it two in a row for Turner Motorsports, which also won last time out with Cup Series regular Kasey Kahne at Rockingham.

"Two in a row is saying something!" said Buescher. "Having [Turner's] first win last week with Kasey, and running second to him, we wanted to come here and win one for ourselves."

Starting from sixth place on the grid, once Buescher settled into the lead from lap 41 he proved remarkably difficult to budge, staying out in front through to lap 96. Following a late debris caution, Cup series regular and Truck Series car owner Brad Keselowski took up the top spot on lap 105, but 16 laps later Buescher bustled past for another good residency up front.

As the race approached its conclusion, other cars including Ron Hornaday Jr., Todd Bodine, Dakota Armstrong and Keselowski again cycled through the top spot during the final round of pit stops, but only Buescher had any staying power and once he bubbled up to the top again on lap 157 he was easily able to stay in front from there until the chequered flag 11 laps later.

Other than the final debris caution, there were four caution periods in the race starting on lap 3 when rookie driver Jeb Burton (Jeff's nephew) crashed in turn 1. A debris caution on lap 37 was followed by a multiple-car accident in turn 4 immediately after the restart that caught up Paulie Harraka, Russ Dugger, Brennan Newberry and David Starr, along with Hornday who was able to continue. Another caution was triggered by Max Gresham 's hit the wall in turn 2 on lap 57.

Right up to the final minutes it looked as though Keselowski was going to hold on to second place despite a two-tyre-only gambit in the final stop, but he lost out to the faster Timothy Peters with three laps to go to the chequered flag.

"We needed a bit more speed to run with James, who was just lightning quick," said Keselowski, who was aiming to become the 24th driver to win a race in each of NASCAR's three national-level series. "We didn't have anything for that, so hats off to his team and James himself.

Buescher's team mate, former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr., had another solid Truck Series outing on Saturday, qualifying in the top ten and then going on to finish in 4th place in the race just behind Keselowski.

“Today we were fast, but we didn't have the fastest truck on the track. When you cannot fight for victory, the best result is to finish in the top pack and think about the championship," said Piquet Jr. after the race.

"Last year I probably would be grasping for position at the end of the race but now I'm more experienced I know how to manage the end of the races and get the most out of it," he added. "I have to congratulate James for his first victory. The team is on a roll and we will continue to work hard and I'll get my win soon.”

The result moves Piquet Jr. up one spot in the championship standings to fifth place, 23pts off series leader Timothy Peters. Peters himself finds his championship lead cut to just 4pts, with Buescher moving up into second spot just four points back.

"He's going be the one to contend for a championship," said Peters of the growing threat of Buescher to his title hopes. "He's been a factor all this year, and [also] when we raced with him last year."

Full race results, together with qualifying and practice times and championship points standings, are available.


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