By: Ashley McCubbin
If you look back at driver statistics for last season, it’s easy to see some drivers would have preferred to have better results, like Chris Buescher. However, despite things not going to plan, there were some positive takeaways.
“I haven’t been real shy about the frustrations of the way we did it, but I guess to reiterate I am thankful that our season did go back to on schedule and we got to run our playoffs on schedule, so that’s definitely a positive,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “Our sport is unique in the way that we are able to compete and stay distanced apart and keep going.
“When you look at the positives from our team, specifically I guess, I think that communication got steadily better through the year as we learned how to get through some of these different changes I think at the end of the day it’s actually gonna help us moving forward. I think we will have better communication back and forth, quicker communication and keep everybody in the loop better so we can be more productive as a company and as a race team. I do think that there’s some positive and some light at the end of the tunnel as far as that goes.”
With last season being his first reunited with Roush Fenway Racing and fifth in the NASCAR Cup Series, Buescher has not been shy about preferring practice so the team can work on improving their 19.6 average finish from 2020.
“It was difficult to find a rhythm,” he admitted. “We needed that practice to really just get us in the ballpark first. Usually, you get through those big swings early on and then once you get to fine-tuning it’s not such a big deal, but we had to use the first half of the season to make large changes to try and find a baseline and that put us way behind the eight-ball.”
Fortunately, they will at least get practice at eight events in 2021, and have gotten 36 races under their belt for some experience. It also seems as though things are on the upswing, as evident by five top-10 finishes in the last 13 races, including a fifth at the Daytona International Speedway road course.
The road courses, along with the superspeedways, could prove to be a highlight in 2021, and possible sight for a return to victory lane.
“I think you look at a lot of these new races as good opportunities as well,” he commented. “I’m not a road racer necessarily, but it’s something I enjoy doing and we’ve been able to have good results at, so I am excited for a lot of these new road races. I’m excited for Road America is a track that I’ve actually got a couple races at and I know a large majority of the field does not, so that’s something that’s exciting. I know we will get practice, but that’s a four-mile track and 50 minutes of practice or an hour of practice – whatever it ends up being – it takes a long time to figure that one out, so I am looking forward to some of these newer places.”
The confidence extends to the short tracks, in knowing how strong Roush Fenway Racing’s Bristol Motor Speedway program has been in the past. Buescher ran there well himself last year, finishing eighth, and recalled being close to winning in the Xfinity Series at the half-mile.
“That’s a place we definitely look at as my favorite racetrack and also a good opportunity for us to capitalize and get back to victory lane,” he commented. “Unfortunately, the first one is dirt, so we don’t get to take what we know to be a good track and rely on our notes to make it that way, but also it’s something that will be neat for our sport and be interesting to see how it plays out and I do know that we’re working pretty hard to try and get it figured out ahead of time.”