Can James Buescher Repeat as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion in 2013?

By Joseph Wolkin
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Winning a championship usually means you’re ready to step up to the next level in NASCAR racing. Apparently, Turner-Scott Motorsports thought otherwise for 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, James Buescher.

Buescher won the championship last year due to his above-average performances at tracks over 1.5 miles long. For some reason, those tracks fit Buescher’s driving style as well as his Chevrolet Silverado‘s setup on most cases. This year, Buescher’s struggling slightly in his No. 31 truck through the first six races.

When he won the championship last year, most people expected for the team to move him to the NASCAR Nationwide Series on a full-time basis. However, the team opted to move Nelson Piquet Jr., who won two races due to pit strategy and finished seventh in points, but wrecked on five occasions last year. Piquet is struggling mightily in the Nationwide Series this year after running just four races in that series before this year.

Meanwhile, Buescher, who won at Daytona in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last season and had 20 starts, is stuck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series again. The team hasn’t even enabled Buescher to run a race in NASCAR’s second-tier series yet this year, and who knows if that opportunity will ever present itself.

He’s struggling to get going in his No. 31 truck this year, but he’s completed all but one lap through the first six races. That consistency can put Buescher back into the championship hunt, yet he still isn’t in shape to win races.

Buescher’s best finish this year was sixth at Kansas, where he sat on the pole, as well as Charlotte. Besides that, he hasn’t done much this year. In 20 starts in the Nationwide Series last year, he racked up eight top-10s, including a second-place finish at Michigan.

It would make sense for the team to put Buescher in the Nationwide Series, but unfortunately for both sides, they opted not to do so. Now the team is stuck with Piquet Jr. who they rushed up to that series, while Buescher’s talents are being held back.

If the team is smart, they’ll swap the drivers before it’s too late. They can’t expect Buescher to run in the trucks for the rest of his career just like they’re doing to Justin Allgaier, their lead driver in the Nationwide Series.

Buescher is struggling at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. He qualified in the 18th position, the worst he’s qualified on a mile-and-a-half track this year.

Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.

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