Brian Vickers’ reoccurrence of blood clots indirectly has led to Chris Buescher making the first Sprint Cup start of his career.
Front Row Motorsports tabbed Buescher, who drives in the Xfinity Series for Roush Fenway Racing, to fill its vacancy in the No. 34 Ford at Auto Club Speedway.
Brett Moffitt was scheduled to drive but was moved Friday to the No. 55 Toyota when Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Brian Vickers was out indefinitely because of blood clots. Moffitt is under contract to MWR but was on loan to Front Row while David Ragan substituted for injured Kyle Busch in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota.
Buescher said he learned of his impending Sprint Cup debut when his Friday breakfast at a hotel was interrupted by a phone call from Roush general manager Robbie Reiser.
“It’s kind of similar to the way my first Xfinity race went down,” said Buescher, who made his debut in that series filling in for an ailing Trevor Bayne in April 2011. “I was getting ready for an ARCA race and got the call and was rushed to Richmond, so it’s been wild. I’m happy to help out Front Row and help out another Ford team.
“We’re trying to all work the best we can to make this happen as smoothly as possible. It’s going to be a wild weekend between the two schedules. I’m excited to get the opportunity, so I appreciate that very much, but we’re going to have to be on our toes this weekend.”
Buescher said he has tested a Cup car several times for Roush.
“The biggest issue we’re going to have is just getting the seat right,” Buescher said. “I (have) run an aluminum seat on the XFINITY side, and we have a carbon seat to work with here. We’re just trying to adapt this insert to me, so we’ve got to work on it just a little bit and move everything around – the steering and pedals and all that – but these guys have already jumped right in and are working hard at it. I know it’s not only hectic for me, but for everybody involved in this process right now.”
The first Sprint Cup practice for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in Fontana, Calif., was scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
“We’ve got qualifying on the Cup side this evening, so everything is going to happen very quickly throughout this weekend,” he said. “We still have to put our focus on the XFINITY side. We’re in contention to win a championship and we need to make sure that our effort is on that area, but, at the same time, we’re more than happy to help out on the Cup side and try to help these guys have a good, solid run and stay up there in points.”
Buescher is ranked second in Xfinity points through four races and finished second to teammate Ryan Reed in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Buescher scored his first win on the circuit last year at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and the Prosper, Texas, native finished seventh in the 2014 points standings.
Buescher has 10 career victories in the ARCA series, winning the 2012 championship.