NASCAR Truck Series - Smith's 350
September 28th, 2013 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Exide team needed late in the race. Qualifying third for the 146-lap race, James Buescher hung around the top 10 much of the race until a late-race four-tire pit stop slipped the No. 31 back in the running order. Restarting in the 11th position with just two laps to go, Buescher took advantage of the field being bunched up to work his way into the top-10 with a ninth-place finish.
Looking strong during the day's two practice sessions, Buescher was able to place the No. 31 truck in the third qualifying spot for the Smith's 350 on Saturday evening. During the opening laps, Buescher was able to settle into the groove and log some laps inside the top 10 until the yellow flag waved for the first time on lap 15. Buescher and the Exide team took advantage of this caution period and ducked down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop. Restarting in the seventh spot, Buescher was battling a tight-handling race truck and found himself racing really hard to stay inside the top 10. Just past the halfway mark, the fifth yellow flag was displayed and crew chief Michael Shelton called his driver down pit road for right-side tires.
Restarting in the 11th position, Buescher drove hard into Turn 1, diving to the bottom and making it four wide, clearing all the trucks by the time the pack exited Turn 2. Just a lap later, Buescher radioed to his Exide crew, "Now we're going somewhere." Buescher continued his push forward, making it up to the eighth spot before the team pitted again on lap 93. Still running in the eighth spot when the team came down for final pit stop, the Exide team gave Buescher four tires, a full load of fuel and pulled a spring rubber out of the left rear. With multiple pit strategies up and down pit road and some teams calling for fuel-only or two-tire stops Buescher slipped back in the running order with his four tire stop.
Buescher and the Exide team gave it all they had to work their way back up into contention. The race saw its final yellow with just two laps remaining, and Buescher restarted in the 11th position, again going to the bottom of the track to pick up two positions and bring home a ninth-place finish for the Exide team. The top-10 finish kept Buescher second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Driver Point Standings with five events remaining.
My Exide truck just didn't have front grip most of the evening. My guys continued to work hard as we could and didn't give up our fight, and I'm proud of us being able to battle back for a very respectable top-10 finish. I'm really looking forward to Talladega in a couple weeks, I feel like my Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team will be ready for another challenge in our quest to gain on this championship. - James Buescher
Start - 3, Finish - 9, Laps Led - 0, Points - 35
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