James Buescher finally got a chance to drive his truck into Victory Lane.
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Those second-place finishes were getting a little old.
The 22-year-old Buescher passed Brad Keselowski with 10 laps remaining Saturday at Kansas Speedway, and then pulled away to win for the first time in 76 tries in the Trucks series.
”I can’t even count the number of times we finished second,” Buescher said. ”We’ve had a lot of second-place finishes, but we finally got the win.”
Buescher won his first NASCAR race in the Nationwide series at Daytona earlier this season, but hadn’t been able to break through in the Trucks series, despite four runner-up runs – including last weekend at Rockingham, where his teammate Kasey Kahne won for Turner Motorsports.
”Two weeks in a row is definitely something to be proud of,” Buescher said.
Buescher unloaded a new truck for practice on Friday and it was fast all weekend. He lost the lead on the final round of pit stops, electing to take four tires while Keselowski took only two, but powered by the Sprint Cup regular on the fresh tires to wrap up his first series win.
”We did a great job, my team did, of capitalizing on pit strategy,” Keselowski said. ”We needed a little more speed to run with James, who was just lightning quick.”
Buescher came into weekend fourth in points and leaves in second, just four behind Timothy Peters, who also got around Keselowski down the stretch to finish second at Kansas.
Nelson Piquet Jr. finished fourth and Todd Bodine was fifth.
”I don’t think we had the truck to win the race today,” Piquet said, ”but you have to bring it home as best you can if you want to be there at the end of the season.”
It was an eventful start to the weekend at Kansas Speedway, where AJ Allmendinger sits on the pole for the Sprint Cup race on Sunday.
Ron Hornaday Jr. and Paulie Harraka got together on Lap 42 and touched off a spectacular wreck that involved David Starr, Brennan Newberry and Russ Dugger.
Newberry and Dugger were evaluated at the infield care center and released.
Hornaday managed to save his truck, sliding through the fourth turn near the wall before getting straightened out down the front stretch. He wound up finishing sixth, while Justin Lofton, Parker Kligerman, Ty Dillon and Miguel Paludo rounded out the top 10.
”We were really good on the restarts and we weren’t really good on long runs,” Dillon said. ”I’m not going to accept it even though it’s our rookie year. I want to win.”
So does Keselowski, who plans to run four more Trucks races this season.
He led after a restart late in the race, but Buescher managed to chase him down and make the pass on the bottom. Keselowski radioed to his team that he didn’t think he had the winning truck, even though there were still 46 laps to go.
Keselowski elected to take four tires when he pitted with 20 laps remaining, hoping to pick up enough track position to have a chance. But the gamble ultimately failed when Buescher, with four fresh tires, easily got around him with 10 laps to go.
”I was kind of worried about the two-tire and four-tire situation, but I knew if we had four tires and came out close, we could probably run them down,” Buescher said. ”We didn’t have to change much on the truck. It was running great.”