In mid-December, James Buescher made a shocking announcement to many fans. Buescher left Turner-Scott Motorsports, the team he won the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship with, the team co-owned by his father-in-law Steve Turner.
“It was a really difficult decision from the family aspect and everything that we've accomplished together at Turner Scott Motorsports, championships and race wins and poles and kind of building that organization with them, and leaving was definitely tough,” Buescher commented during Preseason Thunder.
In exchange, he made the decision to join RAB Racing and run their No. 99 Rheem Toyota for the full NASCAR Nationwide Series season.
“I want to make it to the Sprint Cup level, and I want to be a Sprint Cup champion one day,” Buescher continued. “I have to make the moves in my career that are best for me, and I feel like coming over to RAB Racing and Toyota and being able to bring Rheem with me as a sponsor was the best situation for me to be in right now. So far things have started off really well. We had a test at Nashville back in December that went really well, and this is my second time in the car today, and we were fastest in the single car runs all morning and second fastest in the draft.
“I feel like we've had a good start to our relationship together, and I've enjoyed working with Chris Rice and Bobby Benton and everybody at RAB Racing and Toyota. It's been fun.”
Buescher added that Rheem’s decision to follow him from TSM to RAB definitely helped in his decision.
“They've been in the sport a long time,” he commented. “They understand the industry and kind of how it works. They see a lot of value in being a sponsor in this series and in this sport in general. So to have them come over with me, it was definitely beneficial and definitely instrumental in making the decision to come over. The fact that they were going to come with me was helpful in making that decision.”
In moving up from the trucks to the Nationwide Series, Buescher says one of the biggest challenges will be the increase in competition.
“The competition level goes up, and the amount of races and the length of the races, just getting accustomed to all those different things on a full‑time basis,” Buescher said of the challenges. He added that there’s the challenge of adapting to the new team on top of that, in everybody having to learn each other.
Buescher feels despite those factors, his team should be a championship contender this coming season.
“I definitely feel like we'll have what it takes to be a contender for the championship,” he commented. “I feel like there's a lot of speed in the 99 car. They showed that last year. They've got a few poles, and they definitely showed a lot of speed just about every week.”
He added that he feels himself, he will adapt quickly due to running multiple NNS races last year.
Buescher will start his season with RAB Racing with the COPD 300 at Daytona, a race in which Buescher won in 2012 with a thrilling last lap past in the midst of a wreck.
“It was definitely really big,” he commented. “At that point I had never won a NASCAR sanctioned event. I was relieved to finally win a race, and the fact that I won one when everybody was crashing, there was a lot of doubters that said it was a fluke, and the fact that we were able to go follow that up with four more wins in the Truck Series that year and a championship I think solidified that win that we had here in the Nationwide Series. It makes this place even more special. I've been able to win here in ARCA, and our last time here in July I was able to finish second.”