Buescher Travels Own Path
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on January 11, 2014 | 3:30 P.M. EST
James Buscher will run the full Nationwide schedule for the first time, moving up from the Camping World Truck Series. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - James Buescher is still one of the young drivers in the Nationwide Series, but it’s easy to forget when the 23-year-old is racing with an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old as he was during Saturday’s test at Daytona International Speedway.
At one point, Buescher ran with Dylan Kwasniewski, 18, and Kyle Larson, 21, in a small pack. It’s not uncommon for Buscher to be the oldest driver in a pack. Nearly half the 27 drivers scheduled to test this weekend are younger than Buescher.
So one has to remember that Buescher is still a young driver even as those around him are younger. It would be easy to think he was falling behind with so many younger drivers in the series, but Buescher says he won’t fall into that trap.
“My goal hasn’t been just be a Sprint Cup driver,’’ said the 2012 Camping World Truck Series champion. “I want to be a Sprint Cup driver when I can be competitive as a Sprint Cup driver and be around to win races and championships in that series as well.
“I feel like this is a natural progression for me the way that my career has gone ... be able to win races in a series before you move to the next one. I don’t get too tied up in who’s going where and what they’re doing. I worry about what I’m doing and what’s best for my career and keep my focus on myself and my own team and don’t get distracted.’’
What proved best for his career was to leave father-in-law Steve Turner’s team (Turner Scott Motorsports) after last season. Buescher will drive for RAB Racing this season, replacing Alex Bowman, who took part in the Sprint Cup test at Daytona this week with BK Racing.
“In some ways, it was a really difficult decision from the family aspect and everything that we’ve accomplished together at Turner Scott Motorsports, championships and race wins and poles and kind of building that organization with them,’’ Buescher said. “I have to make the moves in my career that are best for me, and I feel like coming over to RAB Racing and Toyota and being able to bring Rheem with me as a sponsor was the best situation for me right now.’’
Rheem will sponsor Buescher in 27 of the 33 series races this season. Buescher is confident that team will sign sponsorship for the remaining races.
This test is Buescher’s second with the team. They tested at Nashville in mid-December.
He said that test went well and Saturday’s effort at Daytona was good. He had among the fastest laps among single-car runs and took part in an eight-car draft during the afternoon.
That’s all part of the learning process for Buescher as he moves to the Nationwide Series. Although Buescher won the Nationwide race at Daytona in 2012 and has 58 career series starts, this will be his first full Nationwide season. His biggest adjustment this season?
“The competition level obviously is a step up,’’ he said. “Truck racing you have a couple of guys come down from the Cup Series. And over in the Nationwide Series just about every week there’s around 10. I’ve raced plenty of Nationwide races in the past, so I feel like I’m going to get in the swing of things even faster than if I had raced only five or six Nationwide races.’’