James Buescher posts decisive win in Kentucky Trucks race

James Buescher, driver of the #31 Exide Batteries Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
James Buescher, driver of the #31 Exide Batteries Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on June 28, 2012 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

SPARTA, Ky. — Streaking away from Ty Dillon and Brad Keselowski after a restart with 36 laps left, James Buescher recorded his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in Thursday night’s UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

Keselowski passed Dillon with two laps left to run second, 3.805 seconds behind Buescher. Dillon came home third, followed by pole-sitter Matt Crafton and Timothy Peters, who grabbed the series lead from Justin Lofton.

Johnny Sauter recovered from a pit road penalty to finish sixth, followed by Joey Coulter, Jason Leffler, Ron Hornaday Jr. and 19-year-old Kyle Larson, who was making his series debut.

Buescher drove the same No. 31 Chevrolet he drove to his first NCWTS victory at Kansas in April.

“I think this race especially — both the truck wins we have were won in the shop,” Buescher said. “This is the third time I’ve raced this truck, the second time I’ve gone to Victory Lane with it. . . . The truck was phenomenal.

“We unloaded a little bit off and made some changes right away in practice this morning, and the truck came to life pretty good. We worked on it throughout practice, and I knew halfway through the first practice that we had a truck capable of running up front, possibly a truck capable of winning.

“Then, in the second practice, we found some more speed. I’m so excited to be able to get (sponsor) Exide Batteries to Victory Lane, to lead that many laps and dominate like that.”

A three-car wreck on Lap 69, involving two-time series champ Todd Bodine, Lofton and last week’s Nationwide Series winner Nelson Piquet Jr. put Lofton’s points lead in peril.

With a strong run to the inside in Turn 1, Bodine dived beneath Lofton, broke loose and knocked Lofton’s truck into the Chevrolet of Piquet, who slammed into the outside wall. Bodine blamed Lofton for not giving him enough room.

“I thought Justin was blowing up,” Bodine said. “I caught him so fast — I didn’t know what was going on, if he got loose off of (Turn) 4 or what. I caught him so fast, thought he was blowing up, so I went under him, and, obviously, he wasn’t blowing up. . . .

“He’s got plenty of room outside — he’s got to learn to give some space here. When you get that close and that tight on somebody, you’re just taking all their air, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.”

Both Bodine and Piquet retired from the race at that point, but Lofton was able to continue. Taking a wave-around under the sixth caution — called on lap 102 because of Tim George Jr.’s spin into the Turn 2 wall — Lofton regained a lap lost during repairs to his truck and salvaged a 14th-place finish to limit his damage in the standings.

Dillon took the lead briefly with a two-tire pit stop under that caution, but Buescher regained the top spot moments after a restart on Lap 108. All told, Buescher led 119 of 150 laps.

Peters leaves Kentucky with a four-point lead over both Lofton and Dillon, with Buescher in fourth place, nine points back.


1.  (3) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 150, $57,095.
2. (17) Brad Keselowski, RAM, 150, $36,960.
3.  (4) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 150, $28,155.
4.  (1) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 150, $21,420.
5.  (7) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 150, $14,345.
6.  (6) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 150, $13,820.
7. (16) Joey Coulter, Chevrolet, 150, $12,320.
8. (18) Jason Leffler, Toyota, 150, $11,820.
9. (11) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 150, $11,720.
10. (25) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 150, $10,620.
11. (12) Jason White, Ford, 150, $11,495.
12.  (5) Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 150, $11,320.
13. (26) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 150, $11,220.
14. (10) Justin Lofton, Chevrolet, 150, $11,120.
15. (24) David Starr, Toyota, 150, $12,070.
16. (29) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 150, $10,895.
17. (23) Paulie Harraka, Ford, 150, $10,795.
18. (21) Clay Greenfield, RAM, 149, $8,445.
19.  (8) Parker Kligerman, RAM, 149, $10,595.
20. (36) Chris Fontaine, Chevrolet, 148, $11,120.
21. (33) Caleb Holman, Chevrolet, 147, $8,145.
22. (31) Brennan Newberry, Chevrolet, 147, $8,045.
23. (34) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 145, $7,945.
24. (15) Tim George Jr., Chevrolet, 143, $10,095.
25.  (9) Cale Gale, Chevrolet, 140, $8,895.
26. (28) Bryan Silas, Ford, 134, $8,645.
27. (30) Jeff Agnew, Chevrolet, Vibration, 104, $7,545.
28. (13) Todd Bodine, Toyota, Accident, 69, $7,440.
29.  (2) Nelson Piquet Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 68, $7,340.
30. (19) Max Gresham, Chevrolet, Engine, 63, $7,240.
31. (20) Jake Crum, Chevrolet, Accident, 27, $7,665.
32. (22) John Wes Townley, Toyota, Accident, 16, $7,140.
33. (14) Ross Chastain, Toyota, Engine, 7, $7,125.
34. (35) CE Falk, Chevrolet, Handling, 6, $7,115.
35. (27) Dennis Setzer, Chevrolet, Transmission, 4, $7,100.
36. (32) Scott Riggs, RAM, Overheating, 3, $7,070.


Average Speed of Race Winner: 121.33 mph.
Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 51 Mins, 16 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 3.805 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 7 for 31 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 4 drivers.
Lap Leaders: M. Crafton 1-18; B. Silas 19; M. Crafton 20-26; J. Buescher 27-62; M. Crafton 63; J. Buescher 64-103; M. Crafton 104; T. Dillon 105-107; J. Buescher 108-150.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  J. Buescher 3 times for 119 laps; M. Crafton 4 times for 27 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 3 laps; B. Silas 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: T. Peters – 306; J. Lofton – 302; T. Dillon – 302; J. Buescher – 297; P. Kligerman – 272; M. Crafton – 264; J. Coulter – 256; R. Hornaday Jr. – 253; N. Piquet Jr. – 249; M. Paludo – 231.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.