Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher executed a perfect pass of Kyle Busch in the closing laps to win the Michigan National Guard 200.
Overcoming a problem in the pits, Buescher sat third with four laps to go. With a perfectly timed pass, Buescher wheeled by both second place Brendan Gaughan and leader Kyle Busch in turn four. The defending champion then was able to pull away and take his first victory of the 2013 campaign.
Busch did not go quietly as stayed on Buescher’s back tailgate for the last three laps. But Buescher countered every Busch move.
For Buescher the risky move was a must, mentioning that the season has not gone according to plan. The victory brought him within one point of second place Jeb Burton and 52 points behind points leader Matt Crafton.
“It’s a good way to start that turnaround,” Buescher said. “It’s no secret that it’s not the season we’ve been expecting.”
Busch, Ty Dillon, Joey Logano and Miguel Paludo rounded out the top five. For Busch, it was his fourth second place finish during an NCWTS event at MIS. He has won on the two-mile oval in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series, but is still seeking his first win in the trucks.
Busch gave Buescher credit but was still unsure how the move worked.
“How the 31 (Buescher) could get a run on the 62 (Gaughan) who got a run on me is beyond me,” Busch said. “It blows my mind.”
Earlier in the day in NCWTS qualifying, Jeb Burton and Gaughan broke Joey Coulter’s track record of 184.101 mph. Burton ran an average speed of 185.759 MPH while Gaughan timed at 184.120 MPH.
Jimmie Johnson has continued to chase that elusive victory at MIS, one of only five tracks where the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has never won. Johnson was in control during the final NSCS practice Saturday but a mistake wiped away any momentum the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driver had. Despite posting the fastest speed of final practice of 199.457 mph, Johnson crashed nose first during the session. Johnson, who qualified third, will now start from the back of the field in Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400.
Juan Pablo Montoya, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five. Dillon is in his first race as a substitute for injured Tony Stewart.
Joey Logano, the pole sitter for Sunday’s race, ran 22nd in final practice. Logano set a track record qualifying lap at 203.949 mph.