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Fender To Fender: An Exclusive Interview With Nationwide Series Rookie Chris Buescher

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FORT WORTH, TEXAS – This past week in Mid-Ohio, Chris Buescher joined the likes of Terry and Bobby Labonte as Texas-natives who pulled through the victory lane of a NASCAR National Series race. Earlier this year Buescher sat down with Rubbings Racing for an exclusive interview. This week, Buescher is our Fender to Fender featured interview.

Toby Christie: You guys didn’t make the show in Daytona, but aside from that how do you think your rookie campaign is going?

Chris Buescher: It’s going really well. That was one of those deals that just caught us a little off guard, but our 60 team has recovered real well. I’m pretty sure we’re the only car in the top-20 (of the point standings) that has missed a race so that says a lot about what we’ve been doing. We’ve had a solid season, and we’re looking forward to improving on some of our finishes.

TC: How difficult is it to forge your own path in the sport when you have a family member who is also pretty famous and up and coming in the sport?

CB: Yeah, with my cousin James being in the sport and coming up through it about the same way. It’s been — been a little difficult. Nothing that I’d say wasn’t not (something we couldn’t) overcome. We can make up for it. It was good to get the name out there, let people know there’s a couple of us coming through. It’;s just going to make for a tough Thanksgiving at the end of the year.

TC: You’re part of a talented youth movement in the sport. Who is one guy you think you’ll have to deal with for years to come?

CB: That’s hard to say. There’s a lot of guys that are really good. I’ve been racing with them for a lot of years — Ty Dillon I’ve been racing with since our ARCA days, and even going back to legends cars. So I’ve raced around him quite a bit. He’s a good talent that I’ve enjoyed having clean races with.

TC: Talk about your relationship with your crew chief Scott Graves.

CB: It’s a new relationship for us this year. THis whole team has been pretty new. We’ve hired a lot of new guys in. Putting it together, it’s come together really well. The whole Daytona thing it is what it is, it’s not something that we weren’t fast enough to make the race, or that we didn’t plan. We were really fast in practice, and the new qualifying format just caught us off guard. Other than that we’ve been getting good chemistry going. I think we’re learning a lot about each other every race to where we know where we need to start out the race and just try to be as good as possible.

TC: And you’re with an owner who has shown he’ll stick with a guy until they show their true potential. What does the career timeline look like for you?

CB: I guess time will only tell. I’ve been with Roush Fenway Racing for a long time, actually this is my seventh year. I signed when I was 16, and started doing ARCA races, ran a lot of short track races. Finally got to do our first full season in 2011, got rookie of the year. CHampionship the next season. We’ve had very good success. Jack has been sticking behind me really well. It’s been a little bit slow getting into this series. It’s just a matter of the economy the way it is, the funding the way it is, but it’s all coming together now. We’re starting to put on some good performances and are getting some good partners. We’ll keep getting these good finishes, we’re going to get a win before this year’s up, it’s just a matter of where.

TC: As a rookie you go to a lot of tracks you haven’t been to, how do you prepare for those places?

CB: We have an iRacing simulator at the shop. I do get on that. Especially these tracks I’ve never been to, trying to get an idea of where everything is at. It’s not necessarily something that you can substitute seat time for, but you can get an idea of the track. The bumps, the scenery, pit road, just all of the things that go along with just actually putting on a fast lap. I do a lot of that, and we get a lot of the races from previous years, and try to watch those. Just see where the balance shift is during the race, see where people are running on the track. It’s very tough.

TC: Many talented drivers at the local level never get a chance in NASCAR. Who is someone you’d like to see a NASCAR team take a chance on?

CB: That’s tough to say. There’s a lot of talent out there, and without picking out any certain one, you see it all the time. Whether you want to pull from dirt ranks or asphalt, late models. There’s so much racing going around the country. It’s hard to pick out any certain person. It’s just a matter of timing, and knowing the right people and putting on the right performances. I’m just a kid from a small town in Texas, and you know got to know the right people through our races, had some good runs and it’s all playing out now. It’s a tough game, but anyone can make it through this, but they just have to play their cards right and get a little lucky sometimes.

TC: I know your cousin James does have a leg up on you so far as he has a Truck Series championship, but who would win in a foot race between you two?

CB: I’m going to give that to him. I don’t usually like running unless someone is chasing me, I’ll let him have that one. We’ll do what we can on track to take that one away from him.

TC: If you weren’t a race car driver, what line of work would you be in?

CB: Uh — I don’t think I would have done anything else honestly. I never played any ball sports growing up. It’s just something I always wanted to do. I started off in motorcycles. I don’t think I’ve ever had a time in my life since I was six where I haven’t had something with wheels and a motor on it that I’ve played with after school or in my free time. It would definitely be in the motorsports industry, or at leat very close to it.

TC: That seems to be the general answer from you drivers. If there wasn’t racing we’d have a lot of bums on the streets huh?

CB: Yeah I’d definitely have my can on the side of the street trying to make ends meet I suppose.

TC: What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done behind the wheel of a race car?

CB: The best one that comes to memory was last year. I had seven races in the Nationwide Series with the No. 16 team at Roush Fenway Racing. We went to Charlotte, had a pretty decent practice. One of my better qualifying runs, and early in the race — very early — I think it was nine laps in, I got into the wall pretty good. It wasn’t something that I could blame anyone else on. I was completely on my own at that point, so that was tough.

TC: This one doesn’t have to be racing related, but it can be — what’s your biggest fear?

CB: Well I’m not afraid of the dark, come to find out when the power goes out in Texas from all of the storms. No worries there. I hate spiders, I don’t know if that counts.

TC: It does.

CB: And I don’t like wrecking equipment I guess if you want to relate it to racing. I hate tearing up equipment, that’s something I pride myself on is not tearing up very much — through all of my years — it’s tough. We’ve been very consistent. Our ARCA championship season we finished every single lap of every single race. First time it’s ever been done in ARCA history.

TC: 50 years from now, how do you want the racing community to look back at the career of Chris Buescher?

CB: There’s a lot of guys who have since retired from our racing community, and theres a lot that you like to say, ‘wow he really had it figured out,’ and you’d love to be like that. Obviously Richard Petty is one of the biggest ones and Dale Earnhardt, you know all of these other guys you hear so much about. Smokey Yunick is a guy who always pushed barriers a little bit. Everybody likes to talk about the innovations. But something along those lines. You want to make sure you leave your footprint and not in a bad way. We’ll make sure we go out and win a bunch of races and get some championships for Jack Roush and put on a good show every week.

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About Toby Christie

Toby Christie is the Senior Writer for Rubbings Racing. He has been watching NASCAR since 1993, and has covered the sport as a media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the NMPA. Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, subpar guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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