Back behind the wheel for the second consecutive week of the No.30 Great Clips Turner Motorsports Chevrolet was James Buescher. Buescher, coming off a solid ninth place finish just the week before at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was looking to repeat that performance once again in Kansas. The goal looked like a reality until lap 155 when the No. 30 Great Clips fell victim to motor issues and was forced to retire from the event.
Coming into Kansas Speedway, NASCAR had allotted the race teams an abundance of practice due to the 1.5-mile oval being repaved over the summer. No.30 Turner Motorsports team used all this practice time to make wholesale changes from where they originally were setup. When practice was all said and done, Buescher claimed the 17th fastest time heading into qualifying on Saturday morning.
Much like the week before, Buescher qualified mid-pack in the 17th position and had his work cut out for him during the Kansas Lottery 300. When the green flag dropped over the 43 car field, the competitors quickly fanned out to three and four-wide racing. After a couple quick early race accidents, the field slowed allowing for the No.30 Great Clips team to go to work on the car as Buescher reported that the car was still battling a tight condition and had developed a tire chatter. It was on lap 17 that Buescher brought the Chevrolet Impala down to the attention of the crew for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment in the left rear.
Buescher restarted the race in the 22nd position to run a couple quick green-flag laps before radioing back to the crew that the chatter was still noticeable and that the car was running hot. A slightly concerned crew was hoping for a yellow flag to allow them to cool the engine down. That caution came on lap 34 allowing for Buescher to bring his car back down pit road to top off fuel and clean the grass from the grill that was washed up onto the speedway by another wreck early in the race. On the restart, Buescher found himself behind his teammate Justin Allgaier battling for a top-15 position. Starting his climb to the top of the leader board, Buescher started picking off spots, one-by-one. Buescher climbed up to the 14th position when he keyed his radio to the crew that he couldn’t find a place to run on the track that would give his No. 30 Great Clips Chevy a good balance. Crew Chief Mike Hillman Jr. formulated a plan together with his crew and, on lap 58, they took their time in the pits changing, four Goodyear Eagle tires, fueling and made a time consuming adjustment by changing the cars toe setting with the hopes to eliminate the front tire chatter.
It wasn’t until just past the half way mark that the race saw its first long green flag stretch allowing for Buescher to continue his quest for the top-10. Another timely yellow flag fell on lap 134. Just a couple laps before that, Buescher radioed to the crew “I have a tire vibration.” Taking advantage of this caution, the crew called their driver back down pit road for four tires and fuel. The crew confirmed to Buescher that the right rear tire had a slight cut in it and it could have caused a problem later in the race. Just before the restart, the crew continued to encourage their driver that he was running a strong race as he had cracked the top-10. After a competitor spun out just a short while later, Hillman Jr. worked on his race strategy and called his driver back down pit road for fuel only. The crew gained many positions for the No. 30 Great Clips Chevy, allowing Buescher to restart in the fourth position. In order for the strategy to work out, Buescher would need to save the team, a half-gallon of fuel to make it to the finish and give the team a solid back-to-back finish. Unfortunately while running in the top-10 Buescher radioed to the crew “I think there is a good chance that we are blowing up.” After coming to pit road and assessing the problem, the No.30 Great Clips Chevrolet of James Buescher ended his promising climb from deep in the field to finish in the 28th position.
“I hate it for these guys that worked so hard all weekend. When we unloaded we weren’t the best but they made some wholesale changes and we took a 20th place car all the way up to the top-five where, I feel we had a good chance of finishing. We’ll rebound from this and come back stronger next time. “
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be back in action in two weeks and return to the Texas Motor Speedway for their second of two trips to the Lone Star state. This event can be seen on Saturday, November 3rd at 7pm live on ESPN.
Turner Motorsports PR