NXS: Ford Performance NASCAR: Chris Buescher Trying to Build XFINITY Lead

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

Ford Performance NXS Notes and Quotes
Kansas Lottery 300 Advance – Kansas Speedway
Friday, October 16, 2015

Chris Buescher, driver of the No. 60 AdvoCare Ford Mustang, leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings by 26 points over second-place Chase Elliott going into this weekend’s race.  Buescher spoke about his position prior to practice at Kansas Speedway.

CHRIS BUESCHER – No. 60 AdvoCare Ford Mustang – HOW HAS THIS CHALLENGE OF TRYING TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE RACING FOR 16 STRAIGHT WEEKS BEEN FOR YOU?  “We knew this summer stretch would be a tough part of our season, but we made it through pretty well.  I think there were three or four right in the middle that were tough for us, and we knew they would be looking at the schedule ahead of time, but the last several races we’ve been a lot better.  We’ve got some more momentum back.  We’ve been running really well.  Our mile-and-a-half stuff has gotten a lot better this year in general.  Charlotte went really well for us other than a little hiccup, but we were able to come back there at the end and not lose too much.  We actually gained a little bit.  Everybody keeps using the word comfortable for the points battle.  There’s no comfort in it right now.  I mean, 26 points is nice to have some gap, but it’s not very much when you look at the grand scheme of things and how many points can be gained or lost in a race weekend.  We’re gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing.  We’ve been aggressive up to this point and we know that’s how we’ve gotten these points, and we want to make sure we don’t go on defense right now.  We’re not to the point where we’re ready to do that.  We’ve got four more races coming up – three of the tracks I feel extremely good about and one that I feel decent about.  I think we’re in good shape, we’re just not getting comfortable.”

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THIS WEEKEND?  “If you look at the finish, no it’s not one of our best tracks, but we led a lot of laps here early last year and were extremely fast all weekend.  I feel as good about this place as any trying to get another win this year.  Just judging off the first half of last year’s race is probably one of our better intermediate race tracks, so we have a lot of notes to go off of from last year.  We have some things that we’ve built off that, that we believe will be a little bit better this time around, and taking that into consideration I’m not really worried about this one being a place where we will lose points.  I feel like this is a place where we can definitely go gain and possibly get another win.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED THE WINS HAVEN’T FOLLOWED SUIT WITH YOUR CONSISTENCY THIS YEAR?  “I guess it was nice to get the Iowa and Dover wins.  We’ve been in contention to win a couple races since then, and it’s a little frustrating that we haven’t been able to wrap more up, but at the same time when you look through the XFINITY regulars it’s been a tough season on the regulars.  We haven’t been able to get a whole lot of wins between all of us, and that’s been a tough part of this season is trying to run with Cup guys.  You look at Michigan early this year we had a legitimate shot to win that one, and I could have done a better job on restarts and trying to figure out where that race was gonna go at the end.  Bristol, we all but had one won, but with that late race caution and stumbling with fuel there at the end it’s just something that slipped away from us.  There’s no doubt we were plenty fast enough to win that one, but I feel like this has been a really good year for us.  We should have more wins than we do, so, yes, it’s a little bit frustrating that we haven’t gotten those, but, at the same time, we’re one of only two of the regulars that have been able to get more than one win this year.”

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED — DO YOU FEEL PREPARED TO GO CUP RACING IN 2016?  YOU’VE HAD SOME RACES THIS YEAR AND ARE TESTING AT MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK.  “I don’t know that I’m fully prepared right now.  This is a sport where you see way too many people get rushed up into the next level and aren’t ready to perform at that level.  There are guys that we could talk about without naming names there are guys that have been rushed up and got into a place where they weren’t ready and somebody else may have pushed them to it, they may have thought they were ready, and now you don’t hear much from them anymore.  It’s unfortunate because there are people that are extremely good at doing what we do and they just haven’t had the proper seat time to be able to move up to the next level, so I feel like I’ve been testing Cup cars since I was 16 with Roush.  I’ve done all kinds of testing back when it was still allowed and all over this country from California back to Charlotte, so I feel pretty good about running in a Cup car.  I had a lot of fun in the Front Row car earlier this year.  I feel like our six races went really well all things considered, and my experience level I feel I was able to get in it and have it come to me rather quickly.  If that’s what 2016 brings, then I think I’ll be ready for it.”

HOW DO YOU WRAP YOUR BRAIN AROUND THE FACT YOU MISSED THE RACE AT DAYTONA LAST YEAR AND NOW YOU’RE ON THE CUSP OF A TITLE?  AND DO YOU LIKE HAVING A LOW-PROFILE?  WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET MORE ATTENTION?  “I guess going from the low to high, last year it was motivation.  That was not at all where I wanted to be.  I did not want to sit in a motorhome.  I think I spent half of it on a pit box (at Daytona) watching a race that I know we should have been in.  We were plenty fast to be in it and between the new qualifying format and trying to wrap our head around that, and then with Mother Nature raining a little bit right there in the middle that caught us off-guard and made for a really bad Daytona weekend, and a really bad season-opener for our team.  But our guys used that as a way to get motivated and work harder, and we were able to go get our first win in a rookie season.  We were able to carry a lot of momentum at the end of 2014 that carried right into this year, and enabled us to start off as strong as we did.  I think it’s all a learning curve.  It’s all building off of something that was already established and something you learn beforehand, and I think that was important to the fact that we are where we are right now.  As far as being under the radar, perfect.  I’m not a very loud person in general.  I’m not out there to try and put on a show or be flashy.  I’m here to win races and win this championship.  If we’re under the radar and doing it, that’s definitely not bothering me.”

DO YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY WITH FOUR RACE TO GO TO TRY AND PROTECT YOUR LEAD?  “No.  We’re not gonna change what we’re doing because we know that it’s worked to this point and it’s kept the others chasing us for the last 20 races.  That being said, we will try and reduce some of our risks that we will take.  We won’t go out there and try to stretch fuel 10 laps, but if we need to stretch it three, we can probably handle that.  It’s gonna be a smaller amount, but we’re out here to race and we’re out here to try and win races, knowing that if you win there’s nobody out here that’s gonna get any more points than you.”

DO YOU FEED OFF THE ENERGY OF FANS IN DRIVER INTROS OR WHEN YOU MEET WITH YOUR FANS?  “It’s really neat.  If Junior is in our race, we can hear it over the engine noise.  You know when Junior is able to take the lead, but it is it’s something that’s really neat.  We’ve had a lot of interaction this year.  Being under the radar and all has been fine, but fans are starting to take notice, so they are starting to see one or two t-shirts out there that have a 60 on them, and it’s been neat to build off of this season, and to build off the wins and try to take that and make it into something constructive for our entire team – to make all the guys see that we are doing everything we can and we’re doing it the right way.  We’ve got a chance to really make something out of our 2015 season and there’s just four more races to make that happen, so it’s been a great season.  We’re gonna keep doing it and we’ll build off of everything we can in these last four.”