Forget about Times Square, the New Year’s ball dropped on James Buescher right smack in the middle of America’s Heartland: Kansas City, Kan. The countdown started at 3, three weeks ago in Martinsville when Buescher finished third in the Kroger 250. It dropped to 2, two weeks ago in Rockingham with the second place finish. Then the long awaited moment, the countdown reached 1, finally the winner of a Camping World Truck Series race as he strolled into victory lane in the SPF 250 at the Kansas Speedway. Three straight weeks, 3-2-1 and 2012 has certainly turned into a Happy New Year for the Plano, Texas native. “It’s definitely been great,” said Buescher of the new season. “I’ve been running NASCAR races since 2008 and to finally get some wins going, hopefully we can continue this.”
The victory ended a winless streak of 76 races in a NASCAR truck but his first actual NASCAR win came in the Nationwide series, weaving his way through an 11 car wreck on the final lap to take the checkers in Daytona on the opening weekend of the schedule. “Winning Daytona definitely builds confidence because you know it’s possible to get to victory lane,” Buescher said. “You know you‘ve been racing NASCAR for so long and you finally get to victory lane and you say, ok we can really do this.”
Not winning in more than 100 races had a way of suppressing the memories of the great success the 22 year old experienced during his teenage years. He mastered the Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway by taking the Bandelero championship at his home track when he was 14. He followed that up with a late models championship and then brought an ARCA trophy back to Texas when he was 16, becoming the youngest race winner in that series with a victory at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida. But now, in his fifth NASCAR season, Buescher can call himself a winner again. “I think we were definitely due,” said Buescher. “I can’t even count the number of times we finished second over the last year or two so. Second last week, third in Martinsville and really strong at Daytona so we’ve had strong trucks at every style of race track we’ve gone to this year and they’ve all four been completely different so that says a lot about the diversity of trucks we have in this organization and that we can run well at a variety of tracks.”
That includes the Texas Motor Speedway where he has three top-10 finishes in six career starts, though his last outing at “The Great American Speedway!” left him with a bitter taste. After leading for 56 laps his truck suddenly started to lose its dominating power. “We were really fast at Texas in the fall last year and ran out of gas I think,” Buescher said while glancing over to his crew chief Michael Shelton. Of course the both of them know full well that the empty gas tank caused the pole sitter to finish 19th in the WinStar World Casino 350.
Thanks to a pair of new sponsors, Turner Motorsports rolled out a brand new number 31 truck which won its maiden voyage at Kansas and James plans to use that truck to snag a brand new Charlie 1 Horse Cowboy Hat by winning the WinStar World Casino 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8th. Buescher will bring loads of confidence back to Texas after his new ride was the leader of the pack for 103 laps, including the last one of the night. “You go out there and lead laps all day long, that’s more of a confidence booster than Daytona was, “said Buescher, referring to his Nationwide win at the famed track earlier this year. “We led the last lap of the race at Daytona. Daytona and Talladega seem to be a crap shoot so if you can go out there and run up front and lead laps all day long (at Kansas) and get the victory, it definitely is more of a confidence booster than Daytona was.” His strong showings have him ranked second in driver points, just four points behind front runner Timothy Peters. With good runs at Charlotte on May 18 and Dover on June 1, he could return to his home state ranked atop the standings.
But perhaps his best good luck charm came during the off season, a priceless gift from team owners Steve and Sandra Turner, the hand of their daughter Krishtian in marriage. “We got married in the off-season,” beamed Buescher. “Maybe I should have got married earlier because I got married and started winning races. Everything seems to be clicking.”