Phoenix Figures To Be Key To Buescher Title – Again
New season. New track. Different scenario. But James Buescher, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship leader, still must exorcise his demons at Phoenix International Raceway. Buescher missed the field by two-hundredths of a second a year ago, arguably costing the Texan the 2011 series championship.
Ironically, Buescher went on to win three poles but came up 29 points and two positions short of the title, won by Austin Dillon. Had Buescher matched his season’s average finish (8.8) in Phoenix, the championship would have been his by 12 points.
That was then; this is now. Buescher leads Dillon’s younger brother, Ty Dillon, by 15 points entering Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150, the 21st of 22 races. The track itself is new to the series, which competed at Phoenix in February 2011 before the one-mile oval was repaved and reconfigured.
“Last time there we had a rough weekend but his team has put that weekend behind us,” said Buescher, whose No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet leads the series with four victories in 2012. “I feel that all teams are on an even playing field heading into this weekend with the track going through a reconfiguration and resurface since the last time we raced there.
“We will be unloading a brand new chassis in the hopes to put Exide Batteries Chevrolet back into Victory Lane and give us more separation” going to the Nov. 16 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The top seven remain mathematically in the title hunt, although it’s realistically a four-way battle with 27 points separating Buescher, Dillon, Timothy Peters and Parker Kligerman. There’s an outside shot that Buescher clinches this weekend – he’ll have to leave Phoenix 48 points ahead of second place.
Paludo’s Paint Scheme Recognizes World Diabetes Day
Miguel Paludo will run a special paint scheme in honor of World Diabetes Day (Wednesday, Nov. 14) at Phoenix. Paludo, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nine years ago, discovered earlier this season that his son Oliver, only eight months old at the time, is also a type 1 diabetic.
Soon after, the Brazilian driver joined forces with International Diabetes Federation as a Blue Circle Champion, making him the first South American representative of the organization. The truck will feature the blue circle logo for World Diabetes Day, Paludo’s son Oliver’s name above the passenger side door, and a collage of diabetes statistics and resources.
“Nov. 14 is all about the 366 million people worldwide living with diabetes, but for me, it’s just about one person, my son,” Paludo said.
Paludo will be making his 50th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start this weekend. Paludo, still seeking his first top five of the season, ranks 10th in NCWTS standings. He won the Keystone Light Pole for this year’s opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Hornaday, Crafton Among Candidates Chasing Record 15th Victory
With only two previous winners in the Lucas Oil 150 – and none since 2005 – odds are good Friday night’s race will crown a new Phoenix winner. NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors have won the past five races but Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are not among current entries.
Todd Bodine (2005) and Ron Hornaday Jr. (1998-99) are the only entered former winners. Hornaday is among 2011 winners without a victory this year. Another is Matt Crafton. Both have second-place finishes. Crafton’s best at Phoenix is a third in 2004. Either driver would be the campaign’s 15th different winner, a single-season record. Other entered drivers who have won in NASCAR Camping World Truck competition – but not this year – are Brendan Gaughan, Brian Scott and Dennis Setzer.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
Top 10 qualifiers have won the most recent 10 Phoenix events. The last to win from the pole was Johnny Benson in 2006. … Newly minted NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Kyle Larson will make his third NCWTS appearance at Phoenix. The driver of the No. 4 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet finished 10th in his debut and sixth the last time out in Atlanta. … Daytona winner John King returns to the No. 5 Wauters Motorsports Ford for the Lucas Oil 150. … Ryan Truex has been tapped to drive the No. 27 Hillman Racing Chevrolet at Phoenix and Homestead. … Florida’s Jeff Choquette, eighth at Iowa Speedway in his last race, will make his first Phoenix appearance in the No. 97 Chevrolet. … Brian Scott will drive the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota that won last year’s Phoenix event. He’ll be joined by three-time NASCAR Toyota Mexico championGerman Quiroga.
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