NASCAR Nationwide Series - Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up By Johnsonville
June 21, 2014 - Road America
The NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) made their first road course appearance of the season at Road America. After the first practice session was cancelled on Friday, the NNS would only get one two-hour practice session to adjust to the 14-turn Road America track. Turning nine laps in his qualifying session, James Buescher and the No. 99 Rheem team were set to roll off the grid for the Gardner Denver 200 in the 18th position. A brief rain shower delayed the start of the scheduled 50-lap event but once the race got going the 38-car field settled in. The race saw a record 12 straight green flag laps before the first full-course yellow flag was displayed. Buescher, running in the 23rd position, reported that his Rheem Camry was tight overall on both the left and right hand turns of the 4.0-mile circuit. On lap 11, Buescher ducked down pit road for four Goodyear Eagle tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help loosen up the No. 99 Rheem Toyota Camry. After moving up to just outside the top-15, the skies opened up and forced NASCAR to call all teams down pit road for a mandatory pit stop to put on rain tires. With a little under half of the 50-lap event remain, Buescher and the 38-car field tip-toed around the 14-turn circuit trying to stay on course. The race was slowed once again for the fourth and final time just before the 50-lap mark. With the sun making an appearance for the first time during the weekend, many teams had a decision to make on whether to go back to slick Goodyear Eagle tires or stay on the rain tires, the No. 99 Rheem opted to stay on the rain tires. The Texan went on to pick up four spots in the final two laps of the Gardner Denver 200 and to bring home a 17th-place finish.
I struggled to get a feel for this track all weekend. Unfortunately my Rheem team and I wasn't able to get all the practice time we were hoping for with the first session getting cancelled and me spinning off track in the second session. We were thrown a lot of different variables this weekend with the weather and the rain tires and we couldn't get the hang of it. I feel like we have some good notes to look back on for when we head to Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio later this season. Right now I'm looking forward to getting to Kentucky, it's a place that I have a couple wins at the in the Truck series and couple that with a test day on Wednesday, I feel my RAB Racing/Rheem team will be ready for Friday night's race. - James Buescher
Start - 18, Finish - 17, Laps Led - 0, Points - 27