Buescher Barrels to "Drive Smart. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150" Victory
Nineteen-year old James Buescher earned his second straight ARCA RE/MAX Series victory of the season by surviving a two-lap restart shootout and crossing the Kentucky Speedway finish line 0.928 of a second ahead of Justin Lofton tonight in the "Drive Smart. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150."
Buescher and his No. 32 Wolf Pack Rentals Toyota started the race from the pole position after the field was set by owner points and engaged in a race-long, back-and-forth battle with Lofton and his No. 6 Lofton Cattle Toyota.
The tandem traded the lead four times before Parker Kligerman brought out the ninth caution of the race on Lap 95 when his No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge spun at the exit of Turn 4.
Kligerman's misstep set up an exciting two-lap showdown when the race restarted on Lap 98 of 100. Buescher secured his third career series victory by widening his car and holding off repeated charges from Lofton through the backstetch and off Turn 4.
"I have no idea how I was able to pull away, but I can tell you this thing was 'going' on the restarts. It was unbelievable. I've never had a car like that on restarts. I actually spun the tires twice on two of the last restarts. Justin almost got by me on the last restart and I had to recover from that. He raced me awesome," Buescher said.
The Plano, Tex., driver, who became the youngest race winner in ARCA RE/MAX Series at age 16 at USA International Speedway in 2007, led 57 laps tonight including the closing 18. He nailed down his first win of the season on Feb. 7 at Daytona International Speedway in his only other series start of 2009.
Justin Lofton registered his third top-five finish of the season as well as his first top-five ARCA RE/MAX Series finish in Kentucky. He earned a 10th-place finish in the series last visit to the track on July 18, 2008.
"That was an awesome race, I'm very happy with our performance. We got tight, the right front tire was chattering and we didn't quite have enough to win. We want to keep the momentum going," Lofton said.
Jesse Smith crossed the finish line third in the No. 25 Lloyd's BBQ/Spam/Hormel Chevrolet, Brian Ickler took fourth in the No. 51 Brianickler.com Toyota and Frank Kimmel rounded out the race Top Five in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Ford.
Kligerman finished the race in the 17th position.
Kentucky Speedway continues its 2009 season June 12-13 when Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards battle a full field of NASCAR Nationwide Series competitors in the "Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz."
Fans can see their favorite drivers practice and enjoy infield access on June 12 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The second of four Kentucky Speedway race weekends continues June 13 when gates open at 2:00 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Ritz" qualifying will precede a high-energy performance by country music artist Pat Green at 6:30 p.m., and the green flag waves for the ninth NASCAR Nationwide Series race in track history at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets, new infield camping and special offers for all 2009 Kentucky Speedway races can be reserved online at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), or by visiting Meijer stores and the speedway ticket offices at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, near the Montgomery Inn Restaurant in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., or in the Sparta, Ky., Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N. Tickets also can be reserved at Meijer stores and Tickets.com outlets.
ARCA RE/MAX Series "Drive Smart. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150" Extras:
-Frank Kimmel earned his 11th top-five and 13th top-10 ARCA RE/MAX Series finishes at Kentucky Speedway through 18 starts and is now the only driver to compete in all 18 races at the track dating back to July 2, 2000.
-Buescher's winning margin of 0.928 of a second represents the eighth-closest ARCA RE/MAX Series finish in Kentucky Speedway history and the 10th series race to be decided by less than one second at the finish line.
-James Hylton became the oldest race starter in Kentucky Speedway history at age 74 years, 8 months and 13 days. The previous oldest race starter at Kentucky Speedway was Vern Slagh who fired an ARCA RE/MAX Series engine at age 63 years, 4 months and 23 days on May 10, 2003. Hylton was involved in the first caution incident of the race on Lap 1. His No. 48 Hylton Racing Ford did not return to the race.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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