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Apr 01, 2014 - 07:03 AM
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O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Advance
Posted by: newsla on Apr 01, 2014 - 06:59 AM
NASCAR News
O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Advance


For James Buescher, Texas Motor Speedway is home.

Buescher, who grew up in the north Dallas suburb of Plano that is 40 miles from Texas Motor Speedway, has been competing at his home track for the past decade with his success dating to a 2004 Bandolero Young Gun Series championship at Lil' Texas Motor Speedway's .2-mile oval.

 

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The 24-year-old Buescher's career has blossomed since - highlighted by the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2012 - and now he arrives at his home track in a new series with a new team and manufacturer.

Buescher, who has spent the past four years in the NCWTS with Turner Scott Motorsports, has moved up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and will be driving the No. 99 Rheem Toyota for RAB Racing in Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 (7:30 p.m. CT/ESPN2).

Buescher is just five races into his rookie campaign and has experienced some expected struggles thus far as he adjusts to the next level of competition. With just one top-10 finish (eighth at Bristol), he finds himself sitting ninth in the championship standings, 40 points behind co-leaders Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne.

"There were a lot of changes that happened during the offseason," Buescher said. "New team, new series, new manufacturer, but I feel like we've done pretty well managing all the changes. The communication between Chris Rice (crew chief) and I has gotten a lot better through the first five races and I feel like it will only get better the more we get to work with each other."

Buescher is hopeful his success in the truck series at Texas Motor Speedway will carry over upon his return in the Nationwide Series for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. In 10 races, Buescher earned five top-10 finishes - including a best of sixth three times - and two poles. What should provide an additional boost is that Buescher has experience in a Nationwide Series car at Texas with four starts. He won the pole in the 2010 O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge fall race and had a top finish of 11th in 2009 in that fall event as well.

"There are a lot of changes - the trucks have a lot more side force and downforce which makes it difficult to come to the Nationwide (Series) car and find the right balance that you're looking for, especially on the mile-and-a-half tracks," said Buescher, whose last Nationwide Series start at Texas was the fall of 2011. "I haven't got to run very many mile-and-a-half races over the last couple of years in the Nationwide Series. It's something I have to figure out and it was kind of my bread and butter in the truck series, but these Nationwide cars are a lot different."

For Buescher, Texas Motor Speedway would be the ideal location to get his season back on track and there's reason to believe that many fans in the stands will be cheering on the local talent, including a younger faction of NASCAR followers. Last November, Buescher showed his appreciation to hometown fans when he met with 3,500 local elementary students as part of Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" educational program. Buescher spoke with the school children along the frontstretch about his racing career and answered questions from some of the top readers across the six schools in attendance.

"That race track is pretty special to me and more so than just the racing," Buescher said. "I basically grew up there. It's got a lot of history for me and my family and my personal life as well as my career. It would be a really special place to have a solid run and maybe get our first win."

Friday also will mark the first time at Texas Motor Speedway that James won't be the only Buescher on track. His 21-year-old cousin, Chris, will be competing in just his second Nationwide Series event at Texas Motor Speedway as he's in his first fulltime season as well. Chris Buescher (No. 60 Ford EcoBoost Ford), a native of Prosper that also is north of Dallas and about 40 miles from Texas Motor Speedway, has competed closely with his cousin this season and sits just two spots back in 11th in the championship standings.

"It's been a while since I've competed fulltime against my cousin, Chris," James said. "We've both worked really hard in our careers to get to where we are and it's great that we're back on the track competing against each other on a weekly basis. So far this season, we've run close to each other, but I treat him like any other competitor."

The Nationwide Series opens at Texas Motor Speedway on Thursday with two practice sessions from 5-6 p.m. CT and 6:30-8 p.m. The SportsDay Qualifying Powered by The Dallas Morning News will be held Friday at 3:10 p.m. followed by the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 (200 laps/300 miles) at 7:30 p.m. Friday's race will broadcast live on ESPN2 and PRN Radio (KRLD 105.3 FM The Fan locally).

Click here for the official O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 entry list.
Next Level Competition

Richard Childress Racing's Ty Dillon (No. 3 WESCO Chevrolet) returns to Texas Motor Speedway as a rookie in the Nationwide Series and is hopeful he can carry over the large amount of success he has enjoyed at the 1.5-mile oval from the Camping World Truck Series.

In five truck series starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Dillon qualified and finished among the top 10 in every one, including a dominant victory in November's WinStar World Casino 350 where he led 130 of the 147 laps. He also made his first Texas Motor Speedway appearance in the Nationwide Series that weekend, finishing 12th.

"We just had it all together that week," Dillon said recalling his win last November. "Hopefully we can carry that mentality and that confidence over to the Nationwide Series. "Danny (Stockman - crew chief) and I have worked really well together in the first few races so we should be able to pick up where I left off last November and be a contender for the win."

Thus far, Dillon has had an exceptional rookie campaign in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with four top-10 finishes in his first five races after inheriting the team that won last season's Nationwide Series championship with his older brother, Austin.

To add to his own dominance at Texas Motor Speedway, Stockman is no stranger to success in the Lone Star State. Though Stockman has never recorded a victory at "The Great American Speedway!," he does have four top-five finishes in his last six races.

"Those are pretty cool numbers when you think about it," Stockman said. "It's definitely one of my favorite race tracks to go to. It goes along with the theme 'Everything is bigger in Texas' and we're looking forward to going there."

Dillon echoes his crew chief's excitement and likes his chances in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 as he looks for his first victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

"I think Danny's stats are great and it gives me even more confidence because I have had some great runs at Texas Motor Speedway as well," Dillon said. "It's one of my favorite tracks and hopefully our stats don't lie."
Fresh Faces

Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR great Bill Elliott, and Dylan Kwasniewski may be 18-year-old rookies in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but the duo already is making an impact as they prepare for this week's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, is off to a great start as he currently sits fourth in the championship standings, just eight points behind co-leaders Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne. He has recorded four top-10 finishes in five starts, including a best of fifth at Las Vegas.

"The season has been alright up to this point," Elliott said. "There's still a lot of room for improvement and I hope we can improve on this (at Texas Motor Speedway)."

Kwasniewski, driver of the No. 31 Rockstar Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports, is not far behind Elliott as he sits eighth in the standings. In his first five starts, Kwasniewski has one top-10 finish, but did record his first career NNS pole in the season opener at Daytona.

Prior to his arrival in the Nationwide Series, he won two NASCAR K&N Pro Series championships. He captured the K&N Pro Series East last year and the K&N Pro Series West championship in 2012.

"I am really looking forward to racing under the lights and making my first start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend," Kwasniewski said. "Texas has a great fan base and loves NASCAR so it should be a great night of racing. I think with the right setup and a little bit of luck, we can bring our Rockstar Energy Chevrolet home with a great finish."
Last Lap

For the first time in JR Motorsports' history, the team will field four entries in a single race when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. team up with Chase Elliott and Regan Smith. Harvick will be in the No. 5 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet and Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet. Elliott (No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) and Smith (No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet) will be in their customary NNS rides... Kyle Busch (No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota) will look to continue his dominance in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway as he looks to add to his track-record six wins in the series here. His most recent came in last April's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 and the victory broke a tie with Kevin Harvick for most NNS wins at TMS. Busch has won the annual spring NNS event four times and the fall edition twice. ... Roush Fenway Racing's dominance in the Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway could bode well for championship co-leader Trevor Bayne (No. 6 AdvoCare Ford). Roush Fenway Racing has won four of the last seven Nationwide Series races at Texas, including a win by Bayne in the 2011 O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge fall race. The organization's last win was by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 2012 in this race.

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