JTG Daugherty owner isn’t angry at Chris Buescher after late notice

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CONCORD, N.C. – Team co-owner Tad Geschickter learned that the driver of his No. 37 Chevrolet would be leaving JTG Daugherty Racing probably just a little before you did.

In multiple interviews Friday, Geschickter said he was blindsided by the news of Chris Buescher’s departure next season to Roush Fenway Racing, which was announced Wednesday at 1 p.m. after the driver had been signed Tuesday night.

Geschickter told NBCSports.com’s Dustin Long that “we learned about it three hours after it happened so just kind of gathering our thoughts there. Lot of good opportunities. We’re just figuring out what is the right one for us.”

In a statement Wednesday, Geschickter said JTGD nearly had completed an extension with Buescher, who signed with Roush after being required to inform the team he was available (because of a previous contract with the team, which he took to the 2015 Xfinity championship).

Geschickter told Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass that he learned about Buescher’s Roush option “when we all did” and said he spent time making sure sponsors such as Kroger understood the team was unaware.

“We learned about what happened after the media did,” Geschickter told Fox Sports. “We spent a lot of time making sure everyone understood that. Kind of regrouped. We’d never disrespect them that way. Now we’ve got them understanding what happened and what we do next. I think they’ll be patient with us. The driver is a corporate spokesperson, too. They have to be involved with the process.”

Geschickter told Long that his team’s opening has drawn “a lot of interest (and) that was gratifying” from prospective drivers, which might help explain why he said he didn’t feel anger toward Buescher, who is in his third season at JTGD.

“We’re family here unlike other teams,” Geschickter said. “I don’t think Chris would ever do anything to let us down. We have a shot to get to 19th in points. So we’re focused on that. When it all happens, there are some emotions, some tough discussions. Like any family you put it behind you and get back to work.”