THE BLADE/JEFFREY SMITH Enlarge | Buy This Photo
BROOKLYN, Mich. — In the moments after the Michigan National Guard 200, Kyle Busch was still baffled as to how James Buescher was able pass him to take the lead in the race — and the win.
“I figured once I could get out front, I thought I could hold everybody off because it was hard to pass,” Busch said. “It blows my mind. He got a run on all of us, and I got down in Turn 3 way too low on my entry to try to block. I got loose and I had to save my truck, and in doing so he just drove on by.”
Buescher offered an explanation of how he earned his first Camping World Truck Series win of the season Saturday at Michigan International Speedway — a maneuver that began as he entered Turn 3 with three laps to go.
“Kyle went down to throw a block and he got loose, entering as low as he did,” Buescher said. “I stayed committed, kept my foot in the throttle. I wasn’t very clear because I felt somebody’s front bumper. I don’t know which one of the two bumpers hit my back bumper, but I wasn’t completely clear.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Michigan National Guard 200
Buescher was clear enough.
His maneuver capped off a race that began as a back-and-forth contest between Busch and pole winner Jeb Burton and had 29 laps under caution, including 15 in the first 32 laps.
On the race’s final restart after the 93rd lap, Busch split away for the race lead, with Brendan Gaughan immediately behind him. Buescher made his decisive pass only a few laps later.
“Once you get a run on somebody, you really have to be committed to make that pass and hope you clear,” Buescher said. “Because if you’re not, you’re getting passed by guys. It’s a tough style of racing, but if you see the opportunity to go from third to first, you’re going to take it.”
Burton, who won the pole during the morning’s qualifying heats, finished 10th.
BLADE/JEFFREY SMITH Enlarge
HITTING THE WALL: Jimmie Johnson will start at the back of the field for today’s Pure Michigan 400 after he crashed his car during Saturday’s second Sprint Cup practice session.
Johnson qualified third for today’s race but spun out and went into the wall on Turn 4, sustaining damage to the front of the No. 48 Chevrolet. Johnson switched to his backup car for the remainder of practice and will drive that car in today’s Pure Michigan 400.
“I’m a little puzzled as to why I spun out going in because I’ve had great entry stability,” said Johnson, who leads the Sprint Cup driver points standings. “Even on that run I had great entry stability. I got a little close to [Paul Menard] but then again it’s not like I was right on him. To me it felt like I lost downforce just from the traffic scenario. I’m not really sure. Either way we have a torn up car, and we will have to work hard to get this one ready to go.”
PIT PROBLEMS: Ty Dillon finished third in the Michigan National Guard 200 but said after the trucks race that his pit crew encountered problems during the course of the afternoon.
“We’d drop the jack, or the tire wasn’t there,” Dillon said. “We had quite a few issues going on there, but I still believe that we had a chance.
“My guys work hard, and you can’t beat up on them too much. They never have things like that happen. It’s a rare instance where a couple things went wrong. You get frustrated at first about it, but what can you do about it?”
PARTY CRASHER: Country singer Luke Bryan will drive the pace car for today’s Pure Michigan 400, and Bryan’s likeness will be on the hood of Brad Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford for the 200-lap race.
Bryan is a guest of the Miller Lite Ford team.