James Buescher: Gaining momentum toward the Championship

Buescher speaks to the media after claiming the pole award at TMS.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

James Buescher is in his third full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Driving the No. 31 Truck for Turner Motorsports, Buescher is currently fourth in points. Out of the nine races thus far, all but one has been a top-10 finish for the team. Look for the No. 31 to be a contender for the Camping World Truck Series title in part due to their never-give-up attitude.

I spoke to James on Friday, just prior to him hitting the track. We spoke about his views on the season, his experience in racing and what to expect with the rest of the season.
Amanda Ebersole (AE): You are racing Iowa this weekend. It is only the third Truck race there, does that level the playing field?
James Buescher (JB): I think so. I think Iowa is one of those places where I have a little bit of an advantage with it being a new track to NASCAR. I have raced here quite a few times in the lower divisions: ARCA, Pro Cup Series and the Camping World East Series, so I have a lot of laps around here and I know this place really well. It’s been a couple years that NASCAR has been coming here now so everyone is starting to catch up.

AE: This season seems to be off to a strong start for you and the team - you're 4th in points thus far. Do you feel that your experience transfers over?
JB: Oh I think that just experience in this series has helped a lot. This is my third year in the Truck Series, so I feel I have learned a lot about how I need to run my race, how I need to have my truck set up and how I need to communicate with my team. There are a lot of things that go into making the team successful. I have been getting more and more experience and we have been close to winning some races.

So far this season, Buescher has four top-5 finishes and claimed those at Darlington, Nashville, Charlotte and Kansas. He also started on the pole at Texas and then finished in 9th.

AE: You drive double duty at times. Is that extra seat time useful and compatible to the Truck Series in any way?  during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky on July 6, 2011.
JB: With the new Nationwide car it seems that it correlates as far as the driving a little bit more. Those cars tend to like a little bit different set-up changes on some things. It works out well that I am doing both series with Turner Motorsports and the crew chiefs have an open notebook to each other trying to make things as similar as possible. Going back and forth, trying to use some of the same set-up ideas so when I do go back and forth, it is not a big jump for me.

AE: At some point do you see yourself moving to the Nationwide Series full-time?
JB: I would hope to be able to move up to the Nationwide full time. I think once Mr. Turner, myself and our sponsors see that we have been successful in the Truck Series, then we will consider moving to Nationwide. That is a lot of the reason why I run the Nationwide Series part-time now, to get that experience.

AE: Looking at the schedule, do you have a preference of tracks, maybe a style of track versus just one specific?
JB: Not so much a style of racetrack but there (are) just a couple that I prefer more than others. I enjoy racing period, so I am not going to complain about any racetracks. I would say that I like short tracks more than big tracks, because my favorite track is the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indy. Some places that are short tracks I am not a big fan of. I would say somewhere like Texas or Charlotte is pretty high on my list. It’s not really a style of tracks, just that I have ones that fit my driving style, whether they are big, small or superspeedways.

AE: Obviously Texas seems to be a favorite, you claimed the pole there. 246799_10150217494898097_169450818096_7293204_3667025_n
JB: Yeah, it was a good race for us last year and again this year. Texas is somewhere I can do really, really well and I have been going there a long time. Even if I wasn't behind the wheel, I was at Texas watching a race, which helps a lot. It is somewhere that I feel I am pretty successful at so far and hopefully we can improve on the race results instead of always just sitting on the pole.

AE: Looking at your season thus far, is there a standout moment for you?
JB: I think if you look at our whole season, we have been consistent ever since race 4 of the year. We started off Daytona really strong, went to Phoenix and missed the race and then went back to Darlington. Crashed at Martinsville, but every race since then has been a top 10 and we are steadily climbing in the points. If you look at how we have had some problems along the way, even since Martinsville, we overcome it and even on a bad night pull off a top-10 finish. I think you look at the adversity we have gone through, to be 4th in points right now with 15 races left, it says a lot about what we are capable of. There is still a lot of racing left to go this year. I am 32 points out of the lead, and in the last two weeks I have gained 28 points on the lead. I feel like we still have a shot at the championship.

AE: Is that something you keep aware of (the points) or do you just race hard and worry about that later?
JB: You start out just wanting to race and you pay attention to what everyone else is doing. Last week at Kentucky, there were a lot of guys who were pretty high in points who had a bad night, Johnny Sauter being one of them. When those guys all fall out and you are having a mediocre night and have a 10th place truck, you don’t need to try to make something happen and set the world on fire. Just finish 10th, take the points that you will gain on those guys that fell out of the race, like last week.

AE: Is that something you are aware on while driving, who is having problems and the potential points ramifications? Are you being given a heads-up over the radio?
JB: As a driver, you pay attention to who you are around and who you are racing around and you know going in who you are around in the points. You know who you can gain on, whose the points leader is and obviously everyone talks about it. It is something you are sort of aware of and they will also come over the radio and tell you since you don’t have a scoring monitor that you can see where everyone is at.

AE: For the Truck Series, you are only nine races in and the majority of your schedule remains. Is there a race that you are anticipating the most?

Jennifer Coleman/Iowa Speedway
JB: Iowa this weekend is a good track for me, so I am looking forward to it. When we go to ORP or Lucas Oil Raceway, whatever it is called this year, that is the one that I really have got on my check list as somewhere I really enjoy going to. I am actually running the ARCA, Truck and Nationwide races there; that is one of my favorite tracks. I am looking forward to those type of tracks. We also go to a lot of places that I can’t wait to get back to. Talladega is a lot of fun. I could go on and on.

AE: You don’t fear Talladega like a lot of drivers?
JB: Nah, you got to stay positive.

Buescher looks forward to gaining points in the coming weeks and being a contender for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship.

NASCAR By the Numbers and In the Rearview Mirror (looking back at NASCAR's history) are Amanda's two weekly columns with Skirts and Scuffs, but as an Associate Editor her duties are limitless. Amanda also strives to provide exclusive interviews for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs. To read her past columns and interviews click here. Feel free to contact Amanda via Twitter.
James Buescher: Gaining momentum toward the Championship James Buescher: Gaining momentum toward the Championship Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, July 16, 2011 Rating: 5