Coming off a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship in 2012, James Buescher and the entire Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team came into Daytona looking to defend their NCWTS title. A solid qualifying effort by the No.31 Rheem Silverado set them up nicely to be a contender for the NextEra Energy Resources 250. When the race got going, however, The Rheem team overcame misfortune multiple times throughout the race to capture a solid 13th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.
Buescher and the entire Rheem team spent most of the practice sessions close to the top of the leader board heading into Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. During the qualifying laps, Buescher convincingly backed up his practice times and placed the No.31 in the top three for the start of the100-lap event that came on Friday evening.
Once the green flag fell on the 36-truck field, Buescher wasted no time and made a move to the outside line to lead the change to the front in an effort to collect the valuable bonus points. On lap 18, Buescher lead the field to the stripe and collected one bonus point towards the season long point standings. It was just a couple laps later that the field would be slowed by its first yellow flag. Following the field down pit road, Buescher slid through his pit stall and came in slight contact with another competitor, and the Rheem TSM team took the extra time on pit road to repair the slight damage to the Chevrolet Silverado and take two tires and fuel.
Restarting at the tail end of the field, Buescher was forced to work his way back up through the pack. It was on lap 40 when Buescher radioed to the Rheem pit crew, “I am having an issue with my throttle, it feels like it is sticking when I let off the gas slightly, the truck won’t slow down.” Crew chief Michael Shelton took this into account and rallied his team to come up with a plan to fix the issue the next opportunity they had. That opportunity came just past the halfway mark when the “big one” took place in turns three and four, wiping out a number of competitors.
During what was sure to be a lengthy cleanup, Buescher ducked down to pit road to the attention of his Rheem pit crew, who performed a carburetor change, not wanting to lose a lap, Buescher would bring the No.31 back in multiple times during this yellow-flag period to complete the change. Once again starting at the rear of the field, Buescher was looking for a drafting partner to get him to the front of the field. Buescher eventually got teamed up with his TSM teammate, Ryan Truex. This partnership was turning some heads and was looking like the pair to beat as they quickly rocketed through the field. An unfortunate turn of events took place late in the race when the No.30 of Truex had a right-rear tire go flat and collected a couple competitors in an accident. With just a handful of laps remaining in the 100-lap event, Buescher was searching around for who could assist him from the 19th running spot to the lead. On the final restart, Buescher jumped out to the outside of a three-wide pack to pick up a couple positions and close out an up and down race in the 13th position.
“I’m really proud of the entire Rheem team for all the hard work building great race trucks,” said Buescher, driver of the No. 31 Rheem Chevrolet Silverado. “We had to battle back from changing a carburetors and I thought we had a chance tonight to get a win with our new sponsor Rheem on board, but we had a solid finish with the truck still in one piece. We learned some things from this race and we will come back stronger looking to capitalize at Martinsville where I had a strong second-place finish last year.”
After a long break, the No. 31 Rheem Chevrolet of James Buescher and Turner Scott Motorsports will return to the track on Saturday, April 6nd at Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 250. Coverage will start at 1:00 pm ET live on SPEED.