If there was one word to sum up Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race, it would be “awesome’.
The racing was so close you couldn’t make an error. One slip, and you were into the wall or sliding back through the field.
So when the eventual race winner found himself two laps down past the halfway mark, most thought his night would be done.
After having engine issues during a the late stages of a green flag run, James Buescher came to pit road. With his team thrashing away with the hood up on his truck, they replaced the carburetor and sent Buescher back out to complete the remaining laps.
During all the struggles for Buescher, Brendan Gaughan who hasn’t won since the 2003 season at Texas Motor Speedway, was in control of the race up until a restart with 9 laps to go.
Struggling to get up to speed when the green flag flew, Gaughan was passed by series points leader Timothy Peters entering turn-one.
Peters looked like he was on his way to back-to-back wins when the field came back to the start/finish line. As he approached turn-three with seven laps to go, Peters was passed by James Buescher right before the caution came out for Justin Lofton’s pole winning truck hitting the wall.
On the final restart of the night, Buescher jumped out to the lead with Peters and Gaughan fighting to take away the top spot.
With the checkered flag in sight, Gaughan and Peters swapped positions down the back stretch giving way for Buescher to take the win at Chicagoland Speedway.
“The last eight years if had I finished second I’d be standing here with tears in my eyes I’d be so happy,” said Gaughan to the Speed crew after leading 74 of the 150 laps yet finishing second.
“We had the class of the field. I spun my tires on the restart and gave everyone a chance. Even had to battle back to finish second on the restart.
“It’s a bummer. This should have been mine.”
With his third win of the season,which have all been at 1 1/2-mile tracks (Kansas, Kentucky, Chicagoland), Buescher remains the only driver in the series with multiple race wins.
“It was frustrating early on,” said Buescher in victory lane. “It’s kind of a motto we’ve had all year, ‘never give up’.
“These guys don’t give up. Had a carburetor issue early. Got it fixed. We couldn’t keep up in the beginning of the race. Then we really had trouble, and went two laps down fixing it.
“Probably the best change we made all day was the carburetor.”
After the win, Buescher is still fourth in the championship standings behind by 35-points.
“We got to keep closing the gap on the championship lead. But, winning is how you do it.
“It doesn’t help when they finish [third] to you. We’ll keep inching away though. Lot of racing to start this next stretch.”
Finishing the race in third, Peters holds a 23-point lead heading into Pocono Raceway in two weeks.
Peters’ points lead is the biggest margin for any driver that has lead the points so far this season.
American Ethanol 225 Unofficial Results:
1: James Buescher
2: Brendan Gaughan
3: Timothy Peters
4: Matt Crafton
5: Parker Kligerman
6: Cale Gale
7: Ron Hornaday Jr.
8: Jason Leffler
9: Jason White
10: David Starr
11: Rick Crawford
12: Ty Dillon
13: Ross Chastain
14: John Wes Townley
15: Joey Coulter
16: Dakoda Armstrong
17: Miguel Paludo
18: Todd Bodine
19: Paulie Harraka
20: Chad McCumbee
21: Justin Lofton
22: Johnny Sauter
23: Jennifer Jo Cobb
24: Bryan Silas
25: Norm Benning
26: Nelson Piquet Jr.
27: Chris Fontaine
28: Clay Greenfield
29: CE Faulk
30: Ryan Sieg
31: Chris Jones
32: Blake Koch
33: Dennis Setzer
34: TJ Bell
35: Jeff Green
36: Johnny Chapman