Gander RV & Outdoors Series

NASCAR announces revised race schedule for May 30-June 21

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NASCAR issued a revised schedule Thursday for Cup, Xfinity, Truck and ARCA races for May 30-June 21. 

Bristol Motor Speedway will be the third track NASCAR races at after resuming the season with events at Darlington and Charlotte over the next two weeks.

Cup teams will race five times from May 30-June 21. Four of those races will be on Sunday. The lone Wednesday race is scheduled for June 10 at Martinsville Speedway. That is the day Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order expires. The four Sunday Cup races will be at Bristol, Atlanta, Miami and Talladega.

Xfinity teams will race five times from May 30-June 21 with a doubleheader weekend June 13-14 at Miami. The series will run after the Truck race in Miami on June 13 and before the Cup race on June 14.

Gander RV & Outdoors Series teams will compete twice from May 30-June 21, holding races at Atlanta and Miami. Both events will precede Xfinity races those days.

The ARCA Series will race once between May 30-June 21, competing June 20 at Talladega, before the Xfinity race that day.

Here is the NASCAR schedule for May 30-June 21:

May 30 at Bristol: Xfinity Series race (160 miles/300 laps), 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1

May 31 at Bristol: Cup Series race (266 miles/500 laps), 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1

June 6 at Atlanta: Truck Series race (200 miles/130 laps), 1 p.m. ET on FS1

June 6 at Atlanta: Xfinity Series race (251 miles/163  laps), 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX

June 7 at Atlanta: Cup Series race (500 miles/325 laps), 3 p.m. ET on FOX

June 10 at Martinsville: Cup Series race (263 miles/500 laps), 7 p.m. ET on FS1

June 13 at Miami: Truck Series race (201 miles/134 laps), 12:30 p.m. ET on FS1

June 13 at Miami: Xfinity Series race (250 miles/167 laps), 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX

June 14 at Miami: Xfinity Series race (250 miles/167 laps), noon ET on FS1

June 14 at Miami: Cup Series race (400 miles/267 laps), 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX

June 20 at Talladega: ARCA series race (202 miles/76 laps), 2 p.m. ET on FS1

June 20 at Talladega: Xfinity Series race (300 miles/113 laps), 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1

June 21 at Talladega: Cup Series race (500 miles/188 laps), 3 p.m. ET on FOX

All the events will be run without fans in attendance.

The remainder of the adjusted schedule will be announced at a later date.

“As we prepare for our return to racing at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, the industry has been diligent in building the return-to-racing schedule,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, in a statement. “We are eager to expand our schedule while continuing to work closely with the local governments in each of the areas we will visit. We thank the many government officials for their guidance, as we share the same goal in our return – the safety for our competitors and the communities in which we race.”

NASCAR announced the cancelation of all national series races and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Iowa Speedway for the 2020 season. The Xfinity race scheduled to be held at Iowa on June 13 has been moved to Miami on June 14. Other realigned Iowa Speedway dates will be announced later.

NASCAR also announced the postponement of events at Kansas Speedway (May 30-31), Michigan International Speedway (June 5-7), the Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio (May 30) and the Truck race at Texas Motor Speedway (June 5).

The NASCAR season resumes Sunday at Darlington Raceway. NASCAR will run seven national series races from May 17-27 at Darlington and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cup teams will race Sunday and May 20 at Darlington and then May 24 and May 27 at Charlotte.

Where Are They Now? Catching up with James Buescher

Photo courtesy James Buescher
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James Buescher is one of the most unlikely Where Are They Now? candidates.

He’s still young (turned 30 last month). He can still wheel a race car with aplomb. He had a stretch from 2011-13 that saw him win a Truck Series championship in 2012 and never finish lower than third in the other two seasons.

Yet, faced with no sponsorship after three Truck starts in 2015, the Texas native needed to find job security and make a living to support his wife and young family.

So despite having immense talent and before getting into the prime of his driving career, Buescher walked away from NASCAR five years ago at the age of 25.

“I would have loved to continue racing but I had two infant children at home and it’s hard to run that travel schedule with two little ones, as a lot of drivers know,” Buescher told NBC Sports. “Traveling just made things pretty hard for us.

James Buescher and wife Kris with their children, son Stetson and daughter Presley. Photo: James Buescher.

“As time went on, the phone wasn’t ringing to go drive a good race car. I had opportunities to go racing, but I had spent the previous season (2014 in the then-Nationwide Series) running 10th to 15th most of the year. You’re still driving a race car but it’s not fun, not for me anyways. I want to race and win.

“So it was like ‘Do I take one of these opportunities to go race in the Xfinity or Cup series and run around 20th because of the quality of the equipment or do I not travel and just stay home?’ I chose the latter.”

He has not been in a race car or truck since.

“It was time to do something else,” Buescher said of his former career. “My family has been home building and in real estate my entire life.

“I know cars and houses, and cars weren’t paying me so I figured I’d get my real estate license and make some money off houses. I got my real estate license by the fall of 2015 and it took off pretty quick as far as finding success in real estate.”

By 2017, Buescher and wife Kris formed their own real estate firm, as well as a charitable foundation. Last fall, the husband and wife realtors moved to Compass Realty, one of the largest independent real estate brokerages in the country.

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Without question, 2012 was both the most grueling (competed in 20 Xfinity and 22 Truck Series races) yet most rewarding NASCAR season for Buescher. He started with what would be his only career Xfinity win in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, driving for Turner Motorsports, owned by his late father-in-law, Steve Turner.

James Buescher after winning the 2012 Camping World Truck Series championship at Homestead. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

But the best was yet to come as Buescher would go on to win four Camping World Truck Series races in the same year, capping things off by winning the championship, also while driving for Turner Motorsports.

“2012 was definitely the highlight year,” Buescher said of his career. “We started that Truck team at the end of 2009. When we walked into the shop for the first time, it didn’t even have a single wrench in it. It’s not like we took over a team. We started from scratch and built a championship team in about 48 months.”

Buescher still recalls the day he won the championship. He entered the race leading Timothy Peters by 11 points.

“I was a nightmare to be around that day,” Buescher said. “I’m not very good at Homestead, it’s not my favorite track, not one of the top performing places for me. I just never really figured it out. We had a great 1 ½-mile program, but I just wasn’t great there.

“The race was a real nail-biter. I’ve never been more nervous for anything, really. You spend a couple years building that team and it’s not just like you just showed up with your helmet and started driving. You helped build what that organization meant at the time. There’s a lot of people that put their heart and soul into what we were doing. It wasn’t just about me, it was about the whole team.”

When the checkered flag fell, Peters finished eighth, while Buescher was five positions back. That was enough for him to win the Truck title by six points.

As important as that race was, the foundation that Buescher built his championship run upon began nearly four months earlier.

“We had been through a lot that year, but the Chicago race (in July) was kind of a statement race for us,” Buescher recalled. “I had gone down two laps down changing a carburetor.

“We were really good in practice, qualified 11th, but we didn’t know why the truck started slowing down at the start of the race. We dropped like we had a parachute hanging out the back. We didn’t have any horsepower.

“We changed the carburetor and basically drove past the field three times to go win the race. It was kind of a never-give-up attitude that just stuck with the whole team from that point on. There’s nothing going to stop us, we’re not going to give up and reach our goal of winning the championship.”

While Buescher counts his Xfinity win at Daytona as a key part of his career, he ranked another of his six Truck wins as No. 2 on his all-time list of career highlights.

“It was obviously a big deal and it was great to say I won Daytona, but I would say one of my favorite racing moments was in 2013,” Buescher said. “We didn’t start off the season very strong, didn’t carry our championship momentum into Daytona and we had a struggle for the first part of the season.

“My son (named Stetson) was born in July and he came to Michigan at 3 weeks old. I won that race, our first win of the year. We passed Kyle Busch for the win with like four (laps) to go.”

Brad Keselowski and James Buescher won the Cup and Truck championships, respectively, in 2012. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

That wouldn’t be the only time Buescher would go head-to-head with some of the best in NASCAR and come out ahead.

“We did a lot of cool things in that couple-years span (2012 and 2013). Either Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski finished second or third to us in four of those (seven career) wins.”

But even for all the success he had, Buescher never got the call-up to the Cup Series.

“We were winning some races and we were winning against some of the best in the sport,” said Buescher, whose cousin Chris drives in the Cup Series for Roush Fenway Racing. “But I never got an opportunity to go show what I could do at the top level.

“That’s something that kind of lingers as a regret, like ‘What if?’ What if I would have taken one of those (secondary Cup) rides to hang around in the back of the pack and then a couple years after I got out of the sport, you started to see a lot of guys retiring and guys my age were taking their spots.

“While it definitely feels good to be known as a NASCAR champion, it’s kind of shocking that you win a championship and two years later you can’t even get a ride in the sport with a decent team. It doesn’t make any sense, really.”

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Since he left NASCAR in his rearview mirror more than five years ago, Buescher has attended just two races, both at Texas Motor Speedway, 4 ½ hours away from his suburban Houston home.

It was hard to walk away from racing, something he had been doing since he first started competing at the age of 12. Two years later, he won the 2004 national championship in the Young Gun division of Bandolero Racing, won the Texas Legends championship the following year and was the ASA Late Model Series South champ in 2006.

Racing had been his life for more than a decade until it abruptly hit the brakes due to lack of sponsorship. Still, Buescher admits he’d consider going back if it was the right situation.

James Buescher at Daytona International Speedway just five weeks before what would be his final NASCAR race in 2015. (Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

“I’ve kicked around the idea of going Truck or Xfinity racing again,” he said. “I know there are teams that have the ‘all-star’ teams that get put together by some organizations to rotate through some Cup drivers and have other some drivers fill out other races.

“I’ve looked into that, it started to gain some momentum on it last year, was talking with some really great teams and I have a ton of connections to some great organizations.

“Honestly, I spent so much time trying to put together maybe a 7- or 10-race type of deal but still run my business that I was affecting my business.

“So there’s a balance there: I love to race but I’ve got a great thing going on in real estate. I have to be sure I don’t let my real estate business fall apart with the amount I’d like to race. I don’t know if I’d want to do a full-time Xfinity schedule. I enjoyed it while I did it, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards to go do right now. But given the right opportunity, I’d figure something out.

“I like to do things 100 percent and if you’re not capable of winning at what you’re doing, you need to refocus and figure out how to put yourself in position to be winning at what you’re doing, and we’ve done that in real estate like we did in racing.

“I don’t have a doubt in my mind that I could go race a truck right now and be competitive and compete for wins, if not another championship,” he said. “I’m not old and in way better shape than I was eight, 10 years ago. And I’m much more mature than I was back then.”

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Add Erik Jones to those chasing $100,000 Truck bounty

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Former NASCAR team owners Billy Ballew and James Finch have come together to run a Truck for Erik Jones this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway in pursuit of the $100,000 bounty Kevin Harvick and Marcus Lemonis have put up for any full-time Cup driver who beats Kyle Busch in a Truck race.

Ballew made the announcement Tuesday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Sirius Speedway” program.

Jones becomes the third Cup driver to seek the bounty.

Chase Elliott will run in a Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race March 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the next race Busch also will compete. Elliott also is scheduled to compete in the May 30 Truck race at Kansas Speedway against Busch. Elliott will drive for GMS Racing in both events.

Kyle Larson is scheduled to drive a Truck for GMS Racing on March 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway against Busch.

Busch has won the past seven Truck races he’s entered.

Ballew was a Truck series owner from 1996-2012. Busch drove for Ballew’s team from 2005-09, winning 16 of 62 races (25.8%).

Finch, who will appear on this week’s “The Dale Jr. Download” (5-6 p.m. ET Wednesday on NBCSN), owned cars in either the Xfinity or Cup Series from 1989-2013. He won one Cup race, which came in 2009 at Talladega with Brad Keselowski.

“We decided we would come and do a joint effort and come get us a driver,” Ballew told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “After some things that we’ve done with Erik Jones in the past, winning the Snowball Derby, … we put a deal together.”

Ballew said the $100,000 bounty put up by Harvick and Lemonis, chairman of Camping World, spurred this effort.

“I don’t know that I would have overtaken this, even with James’ help, if it wasn’t for that (bounty),” Ballew said.

NASCAR’s preliminary entry lists for Las Vegas

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Ross Chastain has been tapped By Roush Fenway Racing to substitute for the injured Ryan Newman in the No. 6 Ford this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

Newman not participating in the race means he will miss his first Cup start since his full-time career began in 2002 (649 starts).

There are 38 entries for Sunday’s race (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox).

Garrett Smithley is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 51 Ford for his first race of the year.

Reed Sorenson is entered in Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet.

Joey Logano won this race last year over Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Martin Truex Jr. won the playoff race over Kevin Harvick and Keselowski.

Click here for the entry list.

Xfinity Series – Boyd Gaming 300 (4 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1)

Thirty-six cars are entered.

Truck Series driver Brett Moffitt is entered in Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet.

Daniel Hemric will make his first start of the year in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

Timmy Hill is entered in Hattori Racing Enterprises’ No. 61 Toyota.

Kyle Busch won this race last year over John Hunter Nemechek and Noah Gragson. Tyler Reddick won the playoff race over Christopher Bell and Brandon Jones.

Click here for the entry list.

Truck Series – Strat 200 (9 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

There are 35 trucks entered.

With a full field limited to 32 trucks, three will not make the race.

Kyle Busch is entered in the No. 51 Toyota for his first of five scheduled Truck Series races this year.

Ross Chastain is entered in Niece Motorsports’ No. 40 Toyota.

Busch won this race last year over Moffitt and Matt Crafton. Busch went on to sweep all five of his series starts last season. Austin Hill won the playoff race over Chastain and Christian Eckes.

Click here for the entry list.

 

Riley Herbst wins pole for Truck Series opener at Daytona

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Riley Herbst will start first in tonight’s Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Herbst, driving Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Toyota, qualified on the pole with a top speed of 181.657 mph.

It is Herbst’s first career pole and comes in his eighth Truck Series start. He will compete full-time in the Xfinity Series this year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

The top five is completed by Brett Moffitt, Christian Eckes, Ross Chastain and Johnny Sauter.

Austin Hill, the defending winner of this race, qualified 15th. Matt Crafton, the defending series champion, will start 10th.

Drivers who failed to make the race: Norm Benning, John Hunter Nemechek, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Ray Ciccarelli, Clay Greenfield, Joe Nemechek and Todd Peck.

Tonight’s race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

Click here for the starting lineup.