By Jared Turner
Compared to the NASCAR XFINITY Series champions from 2013 (Austin Dillon) and 2014 (Chase Elliott), reigning XFINITY Series champ Chris Buescher moved into a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride with relatively little fanfare.
Not that the 23-year-old Texan minds. He wouldn’t even know how to act in the spotlight.
“I’ve been under the radar all my life, not opposed to it, so I’ve been able to have good success coming up through various series and been able to accomplish a lot to get to this point,” Buescher said.
Indeed he has.
One of the most unheralded XFINITY Series champions in the history of NASCAR’s No. 2 division, Buescher won last year’s title not even knowing where he would be racing in 2016.
Finally, about three weeks after securing the title, Front Row Motorsports officials announced they would field a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry for Buescher in partnership with Roush Fenway Racing – the organization Buescher took to last year’s XFINITY Series crown.
Buescher is now part of a loaded rookie class that also includes 2014 XFINITY Series champion and Jeff Gordon successor Chase Elliott, along with third-generation racer Ryan Blaney and Idaho native Brian Scott.
Of the quartet, Buescher has the tallest hill to climb in terms of the quality of his equipment relative to the competition. But after surprising most of the NASCAR world with last year’s XFINITY Series title run, he’s not inclined to set the bar exceptionally low for his rookie campaign.
“We are obviously in the rookie-of-the-year contention and we want to win that, and at the same time we want to be able to win a race and hopefully get into the Chase,” Buescher said. “That is probably a strong goal for a first season and new guys and everybody trying to get used to each other.”
After capturing the NASCAR XFINITY Series title in relatively comfortable fashion over a driver – Elliott – anointed as NASCAR’s next big thing, Buescher has already caught the attention of some of his more experienced peers.
“He’s awesome,” said Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards. “He seems like a great guy and he really races very well. It seems like he’s not easy to fluster even when things do go poorly for him. From an outside perspective, watching and just being around him a little bit it seems like he’s really conf dent and he’s very even and steady.”
AN OUTDOORS GUY
Like most top-level NASCAR drivers these days, Chris Buescher is at least somewhat active on social media. He has clearly defined his limits, however.
“I am on Twitter and Facebook and barely Instagram, and that is it,” Buescher said. “I am not going any farther. I tried Snapchat for a little while, but it just wasn’t for me. There are a lot of other ones out there that keep popping up, but I am done. I’ve got my three platforms and I will stick to that.”
While others are spending large chunks of time on social media, Buescher would rather be in the woods or on the lake – and he makes no apologies.
“I’m a big outdoors guy, I like to spend all my time I can outside,” he said. “We go ride four-wheelers on the weekends and I go fishing with a couple guys on the team and try to keep busy.”