Chris Buescher makes name for himself with second-place Nationwide showing at Talladega

Leave a comment

When NASCAR fans hear the surname “Buescher,” it’s likely that most think of James, who won the 2012 Camping World Truck Series and who is currently eighth in this year’s Nationwide Series standings.

But after a career-best finish of second-place in Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 NNS race at Talladega Superspeedway, there’s another Buescher that fans should keep their eyes on: namely, Chris Buescher.

The younger cousin of James Buescher, Chris barely missed taking the checkered flag in Saturday’s race, finishing second to eventual winner Elliott Sadler.

“I’m still very new to this speedway racing, so to be able to pull off a second is really cool to me,” Buescher said. “Obviously, it’s a track that a lot of people will say there’s a lot of luck involved and I don’t doubt that one bit, but we worked very hard to go from eighth to last to back to second.”

Even though he was second, it was almost like a win for Buescher, who has had a mixed-bag of a season thus far in his rookie NNS season with Roush Fenway Racing.

In addition to Saturday being his first NNS career top-five and third third top-10 in 2014, he also has had his struggles, like 27th at Texas and a season-worst 34th at Darlington.

“Obviously, when things happen that aren’t your fault it’s hard on everybody and you sit and think about what could have been,” Buescher said. “With the beginning of the season and the way it played out, we’re not really in a points Chase, so we sat down after Darlington and said, ‘You know what, it’s time to go try and win some races.’ And I think that mindset is gonna help us going forward.”

Buescher came into Talladega after a prior career-best finish of seventh last week at Richmond. Now, with back-to-back new career bests, he can’t wait to see what he can do in the next NNS race in two weeks at Iowa Speedway.

A win perhaps for the native of Prosper, Texas?

“I think this will be really big for us.,” Buescher said. “We’ve been running in a position to be able to do this, we just haven’t been able to finish all of our races like this. It’s cool to be able to get that momentum and keep it rolling.”

While many fans point to cousin James’ success, Chris has also had his share of success. In the same season that James won the NCWTS championship (2012), Chris won the ARCA championship.

His finishes at Richmond and Talladega will definitely help his and the team’s confidence and motivation going forward, although he lamented that next weekend is an off-weekend until Iowa on March 18.

“I don’t know if I really want this off-weekend at this point,” he said. “I want to keep going, but Iowa is a really cool race track and anything we can take from here may just be the fact that we have momentum on our side.

“We’re capable of running this well. Richmond was some place that was halfway similar to Iowa, where you can take some notes and move them over. With our run there, I think we should be able to show up in Iowa and have a really solid run.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR Truck drivers feel the earth move sitting in NHRA powerhouses

Photos courtesy Kalitta Motorsports
Leave a comment

Several NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers got to see how the other half lives – namely, their counterparts in the NHRA – on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and across the street at zMax Dragway.

To say it was an eye-opening experience is putting it mildly.

Top Fuel drag racers Shawn Langdon and Troy Coughlin Jr., as well as Funny Car driver J.R. Todd – all from one of the top teams in the NHRA, Kalitta Motorsports – are in Charlotte for this weekend’s 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway.

NASCAR Trucks driver Noah Gragson gets to feel the 10,000 horsepower of a Top Fuel dragster.

Thursday, they invited NASCAR drivers Ryan Truex, Christopher Bell, Grant Enfinger and Noah Gragson to show how it’s done NHRA-style.

Todd, Langdon and Coughlin started the day taking Toyota Camry pace cars around the 1.5-mile CMS oval.

Then everyone moved across the street to see some real horsepower, namely, 10,000 horses worth – which is roughly about 13 times the power they have under the hood of their race trucks.

Truex and Bell got a chance to “warm up” Todd’s Funny Car, while Enfinger and Gragson did the same with Langdon’s Top Fueler.

 

Meanwhile, Todd and Langdon both did smoky burnouts that, if the Truck guys thought they could do burnouts, they learned a lot to the contrary.

“It was a cool to do a big smoky burnout,” Todd said. “It was cool to see the guys reactions. We had a great time today and I think we created several new fans.”

Added Langdon, “Days like today is what makes me love our sport even more. Bringing these guys over here and letting them hit the throttle and sit in the car when it warms up gives them a look at what we do. To see the smiles on their faces after a badass burnout and how excited they are, just gets me pumped.”

Here’s what the NASCAR guys thought about the experience.

Bell: “J.R. Todd let me sit in his Toyota Camry Funny Car and they even cracked the throttle open for me when we were warming up the motor. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. It is a feeling like none other.”

Enfinger: “Just a crazy experience, something I have never done. Been able to do a lot of cool things with Toyota, but it is not every day that you get to make your dad jealous.”

Gragson: “This was awesome. It was the experience of a lifetime. It was great to hang out with J.R. Todd, Shawn and Troy Jr. Definitely a cool experience; one that I will remember forever.”

Truex: “This has probably been the craziest experience that I have ever been a part of. I got to sit in a Funny Car; they hit the throttle, which really scared me. When I was outside the car, I jumped about three feet in the air. It was cool to get inside and experience that. The nitro was all in my face, and I think they gained a new fan with me today.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

F1 drivers split on new ‘shield’ protection

Getty Images
Leave a comment

SOCHI, Russia (AP) Formula One drivers are split over plans to test a new “shield” device to protect against flying debris.

The FIA will trial the transparent screen in the coming months for a potential introduction in 2018, as it pushes for greater head protection for drivers. Recent years have seen major head injuries in several motorsport series.

“I wouldn’t mind trying out the shield, seeing how is the visibility,” Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday. “In terms of safety it would be a good step compared to what we have now.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was another supporter, saying “we’ve still got to see a bit more, but first impressions seem OK.”

The FIA previously seemed to favor a metal frame known as the “halo,” which was designed to stop a flying wheel hitting a driver’s head but was criticized by some drivers on aesthetic grounds.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat said on Thursday he was “quite against” the shield and the halo. “The way Formula One should look should remain the same,” he added. “We have enough protection.”

Romain Grosjean of Haas voiced concern the “next step” would be completely closed cockpits.

Recent years have seen several high-profile head injuries, including the deaths of Formula Two driver Henry Surtees in 2009 when he was hit by a loose wheel and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who was struck by debris, in 2015.

In Formula One, Brazilian driver Felipe Massa missed the second half of the 2009 season when a loose spring from another car hit his helmet, leaving him needing surgery.

Haas changes F1 brake supplier ahead of Russian Grand Prix

Haas/LAT
1 Comment

Haas has switched from Brembo to Carbon Industrie brakes ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in a bid to remedy its long-running braking issues in Formula 1.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous operation onto the F1 grid in 2016, with Romain Grosjean scoring all 29 of its points through its debut season.

Grosjean and then-teammate Esteban Gutierrez had their efforts spurned on a number of occasions by brake issues which continued to arise through pre-season testing in 2017 and the early races.

Haas pushed to remedy the issue by testing new Carbon Industrie brakes in the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test, with Grosjean and new teammate Kevin Magnussen conducting running.

The team duly decided to fit the new Carbon Industrie brakes for this weekend’s race in Russia, with both VF-17 cars to run with them from Friday onwards.

“To be fair to Brembo, the last update in brakes we had that arrived in China were much better. It took a long time to get them,” Grosjean explained.

“So then I was not screaming to change to Carbone Industrie but it was in the pipeline, so we tried them, and both drivers were pretty pleased with them. We felt like we had more control under braking.

“I’m very sensitive to my left pedal, so I really need to get good brakes to get good confidence and push the car to its maximum limit. So we are going to run them here.

“There is still a little bit of work we need to be doing around the mapping and finding the solution around those brakes but I think yeah, definitely it’s going to help me a little bit to find the last few hundredths.”

NHRA: Chad Head to substitute for Alexis DeJoria in Charlotte

Photo: NHRA
Leave a comment

Alexis DeJoria will miss this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, with her Kalitta Motorsports team confirming DeJoria will need to tend to a family matter.

Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports Director of Safety, will step into the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend. No timetable was given for DeJoria’s return; after Charlotte this weekend, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues for its third consecutive race weekend next week in Atlanta.

This isn’t the first race DeJoria has had to miss recently, as she also was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the 2016 NHRA season finale in Pomona.