HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Chris Buescher, who moved away from home at age 15 to pursue his racing dream, became the fourth Roush Fenway Racing driver to win an Xfinity championship Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Thank you guys for the whole year, thank you so much,” Buescher radioed his crew after claiming the title.
Buescher, who finished 11th, won the crown by 15 points on Chase Elliott, the reigning series champion.
“They just outran us fair and square,” Elliott said of Buescher.
The title fulfilled a goal set by Buescher, who moved from Texas to Charlotte, N.C., to live with the family of David Ragan to further his racing career.
“I was very fortunate I got to meet the Ragans when I was racing Legends cars,” Buescher said. “Through that and through a black flag I received for rough driving one week, I was fortunate enough to meet Ken Ragan and got to know David at the same time David was getting his break at Roush.”
Ken Ragan told Buescher’s family that they needed to move to Charlotte to further their son’s racing career, but they weren’t able to do with it with younger children. Ken Ragan said that he and his family could house Buescher and the family agreed to that.
“They gave me an opportunity I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Buescher said.
It all goes back to the black flag. Buescher said he was about 12 years old when he was penalized for rough driving in a heat race. Buescher’s crew chief knew the Ragan family and Ken Ragan told the crew chief to bring Buescher by for a talk to settle him down.
“That he did after a several hour conversation,” Buescher said. “Conversation would imply that I was getting to talk back, but … it was a learning experience. It made a me realize there is a time to go and a time to be patient.
“Got to be good friends with the Ragan family from there. When I moved it … they basically let me fit in with the family and go work at David’s shop. That’s what everyone wants to do, do everything they can to get to this point.”
He called winning the championship “a very special, a very humbling experience.”
The 23-year-old Buescher ran a steady race after starting 11th. He needed only to finish 13th or better to secure the title. Buescher was the points leader for the final 24 races and was never worse than third in the points in the 33-race season.
Roush’s previous series titles came with Greg Biffle (2002), Carl Edwards (2007) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2011-12).
Car owner Jack Roush said after the race that Buescher’s plans are not set for next year. Roush said that Buescher will drive in Sprint Cup but didn’t know if it would be a full season or select races.