Saturday's race start of favorable stretch for points leader NEWTON, Iowa -- The last time Chris Buescher visited Iowa Speedway, he was savoring the laurels of his second career victory and leaving the track as the new NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader. Back in Iowa some 10 weeks and eight races later, he's still atop the XFINITY heap without much major movement in the standings since. With the season entering its second half, no one -- either Buescher or the other title contenders -- has been able to manufacture a significant charge. "I hope it's us," Buescher said of the likelihood of a late-season points swing. "There's really no telling right now. I don't know where these next races are going to go. I know from our side of it, we're prepared for it and we are looking forward to it. We feel like this could be a really good stretch for us. We'll see how it plays out." Buescher aims to retain or build upon his 25-point lead over defending series champion Chase Elliott in Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, MRN, SiriusXM). He'll try to accomplish that goal at a .875-mile track that's been kind to his Roush Fenway Racing team (five wins in the last nine Iowa races) and Ford teams in general (seven wins in 11 Iowa races total). "We've had some pretty good runs here in the XFINITY Series. It's just a place that we seem to have something that works pretty well for all of our teams," Buescher said. "We come here each and every time and we always have some kind of shot with one of our team cars to be able to get a win. It is nice. It's a good short track. We love coming to race here. It puts on some of the best racing that we have all year." Buescher's springtime spike -- which included a stretch of eight top-10 finishes in a 10-race span -- has cooled off somewhat as summer temperatures have risen. The 22-year-old Texas native has gone four races without a top 10 and hasn't led a lap in six weeks. But if anything, Buescher said the five races coming up on the XFINITY schedule might be considered a favorable stretch. Among them are three road courses (Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Road America) and two short tracks (Iowa and Bristol). He'll also return to Mid-Ohio as the defending race winner, aiming to repeat at the site of his first XFINITY victory. With five drivers within 57 points of the lead, it would be hard to blame Buescher for playing the racing equivalent of a prevent defense for the 15 races left in the 33-race schedule. But Buescher insists that the No. 60 team's approach is unlikely to waver down the stretch. "The points are something you have to pay attention to, to an extent," Buescher said. "I don't particularly like points racing. It's not our focus. That's not the one thing that we're going to go chase each and every week. We're out here to go win races and be competitive every week, and if you can do that, you end up in a really good spot in the points battle and you can play it from there. So we're to a point in the year where we've put ourselves in the right situations. "We've got a little bit of a cushion -- not much -- and we can look at that when we go to races. For weekends that we don't have the best run or the run we were hoping for -- like we had at Indy, we were able to salvage and not lose much. When we get into races like that, you have to pay attention to it and know that when it comes down to the end, every point's going to count. At the same time, when we're trying to go out here and win these races, you can't lean on the points too much. You've got to go try and maximize everything you can. If you can win a race, you're going to get more points than anybody else." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ryan Reed post-race: 'I told him we can race like that and I'm totally fine' NEWTON, Iowa -- What opened up as a reasonably clean, meandering NASCAR XFINITY Series race turned into a regular Saturday night showdown, a swashbuckling smashfest in three acts that left bruises on fenders and egos alike at Iowa Speedway. After traveling 205 of an overtime 260 laps with a harmless three caution periods, short-track bedlam erupted in the late stages, potentially re-opening an old rift between teammates, ruffling the feathers of the defending series champion and sparking a post-race shove further back in the pack. The earliest sign that the U.S. Cellular 250 would not go quietly into the good Iowa night came with 21 laps left in regulation, when reigning champ Chase Elliott tangled with rookie Brandon Jones on the frontstretch in a contest for sixth place. Elliott, already frustrated by his late fade as the only front-runner to make a two-tire stop in the last exchange, keyed his radio to tell his JR Motorsports crew: "I'm pretty upset right now. That's all I'm going to say." Told that Jones accepted full blame over the his own radio, Elliott replied: "Yeeeeppp. They can tell that to the points tally." Jones was apologetic again after the race, telling NASCAR.com that he felt he was clear as he slid up the race track on the exit of Turn 4. He said he didn't have a chance to issue an apology in person with ninth-place finisher Elliott after the race. "I think he probably went back to his hauler, but I'll get back up with him (later) and try to explain what happened, for sure," said Jones, who finished 20th in just his second XFINITY start. "Me and Chase are really good friends and I didn't mean for that to happen, but can't do anything now about it. We'll go to the next one." The next one in terms of post-race flare-ups should make for another interesting team meeting this week at Roush Fenway Racing . Points leader Chris Buescher and teammate Bubba Wallace, who locked horns in May at Dover International Speedway, collided again with two laps left, pushing the race into overtime. Wallace, damaged in an earlier incident with Erik Jones entering pit road, caught the worst of it with fellow teammate Ryan Reed and the retiring Kenny Wallace sliding behind him in the aftermath. Wallace dismounted from his No. 6 Ford post-race, exchanged words with Buescher's crew chief Scott Graves, and leaned in to Buescher's window for a succinct post-race talk. "I think he said, 'good job.' I just grabbed him really quick," Wallace said. "We screwed up so bad in this race. It was miserable. I let my guys down. I got into Erik there on pit road and that put us in a corner. Just hate it, man. I screwed up tonight. Just paying for it." Asked about any potential tension within the Roush ranks, Wallace smiled and shrugged: "He's racing. We're racing hard. That's it. Nothing to it. I just told him good job and we'll go to Watkins Glen." Buescher , the winner here at the .875-mile track in May, was aiming for a rare Iowa season sweep, but on the first green-white-checkered attempt that followed, his No. 60 was heavily damaged by the sliding car of Brennan Poole . He limped home to a 13th-place finish, two spots behind Wallace, but retained his lead in the XFINITY standings. "Our guys did a heck of a job and we brought back a heck of a car to Iowa and we should've been in really good contention for this thing," Buescher said. "You know, it's just tough. We had so many restarts there late. Guys are just, they're tough -- just dive-bomb it in there and it's tough." Pressed for specifics about his contact with Wallace, Buescher declined to tell: "I'm not talking about that one. … Nope. Nothing to say." Caught in part of the crossfire was Reed, who soldiered to a 19th-place finish and had fireworks of his own to come. In trying to assess the hard-nosed racing between Buescher and Wallace, he said he felt certain the issues would be resolved in time. "They're both great drivers and I have a lot of respect for both of them and get along with both of 'em. I can't really get in the middle of it, but at the same time, I understand how it can be racing teammates," Reed said. "You want to run everyone as hard as you can, just seems, like you said, they're magnets and I'm not sure why it's like that. They're both great drivers, I have a lot of respect for them, and I'm sure they'll get through it." Reed's issues weren't over, though, as his No. 16 Ford scraped across the start-finish line in 19th-place at the checkered flag. Very little cool-down happened on the cool-down lap, with Reed marching over to the No. 4 Chevrolet and giving its driver, Ross Chastain , a swift shove. "There were a lot of wrecks there at the end. It's part of short-track racing," Reed said. "My getting at the 4, like I said in my other interview, it's kind of the pot calling the kettle black because I got into the 20 ( Kenny Wallace ), but the 20 was very unintentional. I just went up to the 4 and he just flat-out told me, 'Hey man, it was a green-white-checkered,' so I have a hard time with that. I have a really hard time with going in there and just intentionally banzai-ing someone and punting them out of the way. It's fine. I told him we can race like that and I'm totally fine with that." Chastain claimed said he wanted to see video of the incident before making a judgment call. "I haven't seen a replay yet, so I can't say too much. I don't want to because I don't want to overstep what I don't know," Chastain told NASCAR.com. "What I remember -- and it might be completely wrong -- is I got to the bottom of (Turn) 1 and the 16 was right outside of me. I thought we were pretty low on the race track and we might've gotten together a little bit. It looks like there's a little mark on my fender, and I just got by him and there was mayhem and chaos everywhere. I don't know. Until I see a replay, I don't know. "Me and him have raced hard all year. It's good for us that we're racing against guys like that because people think we shouldn't be, but we are. When we come to a track like Iowa, we can show what this team's made out of. I'm proud of my guys. I hate it that he got torn up, but I didn't feel like I was too in the wrong, but I'll have to watch a replay to see." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Suarez, Blaney starting on front row; Kenny Wallace qualifies seventh RELATED: Full qualifying results Daniel Suarez soared past Ryan Blaney in the final 30 seconds of qualifying to earn himself the second Coors Light Pole Award of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver had a fast lap of 133.441 mph in 23.606 seconds during the qualifing session on Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Team Penske 's Blaney will join Suarez on the front row during the U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, Sirius XM) after coming in second on the leaderboard with a speed of 133.373 mph (23.618 seconds). Rounding out the top three during the XFINITY Series qualifying session was veteran Brendan Gaughan in his No. 62 Chevrolet (132.861 mph). For his eighth start at Iowa Speedway, Gaughan is looking for his first win at the track. The drivers of the No. 33 Chevrolet, Brandon Jones (132.750 mph), and the No. 54, Drew Herring (132.760 mph), came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Herring was filling in for Erik Jones , who was en route from Pocono Raceway after the Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 and was unable to participate in any of the practices or the qualifying round. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher , was next on the leaderboard as he qualified sixth with a fastest lap of 132.364 mph. Kenny Wallace was right behind Buescher with a strong seventh-place starting spot. Wallace will be racing for the last time as a full-time NASCAR driver Saturday night at Iowa Speedway as he recently announced his retirement. He is looking for his 10th career win. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where drivers will pit for the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland RELATED: Complete lineup at Pocono The pit stall assignments are out for Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland at Iowa Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM) with pole-sitter Daniel Suarez getting his first pick on pit road for the second time this season. After snagging the lead from Ryan Blaney in the final 30 seconds of qualifying, Suarez, in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, chose the last pit stall off pit road, giving him an easy exit during stops. Suarez is not the only one with an open-stall advantage as Brendan Gaughan (starting third) will service his No. 62 Chevrolet in stall 20, which also has an opening ahead of it. Erik Jones (starting fifth), Chris Buescher (starting sixth) and Kenny Wallace (starting seventh) all have openings in front of their pit stalls. Blaney was second in qualifying and his No. 22 Team Penske Ford will pit in the fourth pit box. Elliott Sadler , in the No. 1 Ford, has the pit stall even with the start-finish line at the Brickyard. Sadler will lineup in the 15th position. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dillon, Suarez both looking for first Iowa win RELATED: Practice 2 results After running fourth in Friday's first practice, Ty Dillon topped the leaderboard in the second practice with an impressive fastest lap of 133.012 mph in 23.682 seconds. The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet completed a total of 67 laps for the session. NASCAR XFINITY Series veteran Brendan Gaughan was second on the leaderboard for Friday's final practice session with his No. 62 Chevrolet coming in hot with a fastest lap of 132.704 mph in 23.737 seconds. T.J. Bell rounded out the top three with a lap of 131.871 mph (23.887 seconds). This weekend will mark the first time Bell has lined up for a NASCAR XFINITY Series race since 2012's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Next on the leaderboard was Drew Herring in his No. 6 Ford. Herring had a fastest lap of 131.519 mph (23.951). This will be his first NASCAR XFINITY appearance since 2013's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And completing the top five for this session was Brian Scott in his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet with a lap of 131.403 mph. Daniel Suarez , who topped the first practice, finished ninth in the Friday night's practice (131.026 mph). The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver will be on the lookout for his fourth consecutive top-five finish this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Kenny Wallace , who will be competing in his last race in the series this weekend at Iowa, finished 15th. Wallace is looking for his 10th career win at Saturday's U.S. Cellular Presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SiriusXM). NXS action continues Saturday with the Coors Light Pole Qualifying at 4:45 p.m. ET. RELATED: Practice 1 results Daniel Suarez topped the leaderboard in the NASCAR XFINITY Series opening practice on Friday at Iowa Speedway. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota posted a fastest lap of 133.367 mph. Next was fellow rookie Brandon Jones in his No. 33 Chevrolet with a fastest lap of 131.965 mph. Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 Presented by New Holland marks Jones' second start in the XFINITY Series. His first race was at Iowa’s May race, the 3M 250 , where he finished eighth. Rounding out the first session's top three was Ben Rhodes . Rhodes had a fastest lap of 131.744 mph. Ty Dillon (131.546 mph) and Darrell Wallace Jr . (131.486 mph) came in fourth and fifth, respectively. XFINITY Series points leader, Chris Buescher finished practice in the seventh spot, posting a fastest lap of 130.332 mph. Johanna Long , finished 30th in the first session. This is Long's first 2015 appearance as she hasn't raced since 2013's Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On-track action continues at 7 p.m. ET with the NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice on NBCSN. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Darrell Wallace Jr. has words with Chris Buescher's crew chief, Scott Graves and Ryan Reed shoves Ross Chastain following the U.S. Cellular 250 in Iowa.
Takes checkered flag one week after last-lap loss at Indy RELATED: Race results " Series standings NEWTON, Iowa - As the cautions — and wreckage — piled up, Ryan Blaney didn’t blink. Trouble reigned for most in the late tension-filled stages of the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Iowa Speedway, but the driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford remained calm and poised. Seemed so, anyway. “It’s not ideal,” Blaney said of four cautions in the final 20 scheduled laps that interrupted his stirring Saturday night run to Victory Lane. “At all. You have a great car and those late cautions are just chances to give it away.” Not Saturday. Blaney’s turn at the wheel put the Team Penske No. 22 in Victory Lane at Iowa for the third straight August. Brad Keselowski drove it to wins each of the past two seasons. Blaney led an astounding 252 laps of 260, churning out the most dominant performance in his young career and first series win of the season after three runner-up finishes. “It’s crazy that you lead more laps than the race is actually scheduled for,” Blaney’s crew chief, Greg Erwin, said. Crazy indeed, but fitting for Blaney, who felt he had “given away” last weekend’s Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Kyle Busch , who made a last-lap pass. “It really speaks a lot to this team,” Blaney said. “(They gave me) a great race car.” Regan Smith finished a season-best second and Brian Scott took third. Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan — who took a late shot at Blaney that slightly damaged both cars — completed the top five. Blaney simply shined from the start. He swiftly passed Coors Light polesitter Daniel Suarez after the green flag flew and led the first 146 laps — or 50 more than his previous best total he amassed while notching his first series win at Kentucky in 2013. The first hiccup: Trailing Smith for four laps after easing off pit road on Lap 147 slightly behind him. The next green flag erased that issue. On Lap 151 Blaney surged to the front again and set a blistering pace in clean air, virtually unchallenged. But one more pit stop was required and Chase Elliott — who powered to second during the late stages— beat Blaney off pit road. A change in the evening’s balance of power? Hardly. Blaney quickly swept past Elliott and never looked back — except to survey the misfortunes of others. Eight cautions marred the event, with six coming after Lap 205. WATCH: Post-race scuffles on pit road Elliott drew one after contact with Brandon Jones sent him spinning into the wall on Lap 231. He recovered to finish ninth and sits 20 points behind standings leader Chris Buescher , who was collected in the multi-car wreck that came on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Buescher settled for 13th. Kenny Wallace , who made his record 547th and final appearance with the series, spun twice. He ended up 15th. Blaney’s No. 22 sustained some damage on the first green-white-checkered attempt as Brendan Gaughan tried to make a run to his low side, but didn’t clear his left rear. No hard feelings, Blaney said. Just good, hard racing. “Wouldn’t want it any other way,” Blaney said. Still, the twisted metal gave Smith hope — until he missed his mark on the final restart. “He went a lot earlier than I anticipated,” said Smith, who notched his best finish this season. “It was my fault for not being ready.” No one could mount much for Blaney all night. Blaney led every green flag lap. He led 160 more laps than he’s ever led in an XFINITY Series race. And his first win of 2015 came at a track where he snared his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in 2012. “Just a fun place,” said Blaney, whose 252 laps led, unsurprisingly, proved to be a track record. “We’ve always had good runs here.” FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Fans, drivers have chance to win $100,000 RELATED: 100,000 reasons to win " Learn more about Dash 4 Cash CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Fenway Racing 's Chris Buescher picked up his second win in the NASCAR XFINITY Series last weekend at Iowa Speedway and took over the series points lead, but he said Thursday the only regret he had from the performance was that it didn't come this week in the Dash 4 Cash qualifier. Saturday's Hisense 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, Sirius XM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway marks the first step in the 2015 Dash 4 Cash as Buescher and other drivers who are eligible for XFINITY Series points will get a chance to race into the program's opener next weekend at Dover International Speedway . The Dash 4 Cash is a yearly contest that sparks excitement in the form of a $100,000 paycheck to the highest-finishing eligible driver in four select XFINITY Series races. This year's Dash 4 Cash includes races next week at Dover, July 25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway , Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Sept. 5 at Darlington Raceway . "I love short track racing and to have Dover and Darlington and Bristol in there is awesome, because those are three of my top five race tracks," Buescher said. "If we're fortunate enough to qualify in for it, I think the red banner on the windshield and the spoiler will match our paint scheme quite nicely." Yes, the red banner and spoiler on Dash 4 Cash-eligible cars will replace the blue ones that were used last year when Nationwide ran the show. But that isn't the only change Comcast made since taking over the program. The qualifier race is new to Charlotte, as is the finale at Darlington -- last year's finale at Iowa was won by Trevor Bayne -- and the inclusion of Dover and Bristol is also a change. Plus, the schedule is more spread out than usual, allowing Bristol and Darlington to get into the mix. But what remains the same is that fans can enter the NASCAR XFINITY Series $100,000 Sweepstakes at www.nascar.com/Dash4Cash for a chance to take home their own stack of cash if they are paired up with the winning driver at Darlington. "There's a lot of hype around it and it's cool for fan engagement and for the drivers to try and put a little extra pressure on themselves and our teams," Buescher said of the Dash 4 Cash. "It's going to be a little bit more spread out this year, which I think is a good thing. I think it gives a little more time to prepare and plan for it." First, drivers like Buescher need to qualify for the event and that means finishing in the top four among eligible drivers on Saturday. Buescher admitted that will be a tough task, because he said the track at Charlotte changes a lot throughout the weekend. Buescher has had two top-10 finishes in his three XFINITY Series starts at Charlotte, and even though it's a small sample size, it's something to build on for the 22-year-old Texas native. Plus, since he's coming to Charlotte fresh off the win in Iowa, he said he's feeling pretty confident about his chances. "It's been a good start to the season for us, for sure," Buescher said. "We've had new people on board this year, new teammates in Elliott (Sadler) and Bubba (Wallace). I feel like it's coming together quite nicely this year. We have race cars that are coming to the race track a lot quicker than they were at the beginning of last year at this point in time, and we're in a much better points position not missing Daytona for sure and being able to get a win early in the season." It's worth something, in more ways than one, to see if Buescher can carry that momentum into Saturday. For more information on the Dash 4 Cash, go to http://www.nascar.com/dash4cash.html . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Darrell Wallace Jr. gets loose and spins out in the backstretch bringing out the second caution of the race on Lap 97, Wallace's teammate Chris Buescher benefits from the caution, putting him back on the lead lap at Chicagoland Speedway.
XFINITY Series regular to drive No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Chris Buescher will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). The NASCAR XFINITY Series regular for Roush Fenway Racing will pilot the No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports at Auto Club Speedway . The team announced the news on its Twitter account. . @Chris_Buescher will make his first Sprint Cup start for Front Row Motorsports in the No 34 this weekend. pic.twitter.com/l5iQXQsa4K — FrontRow Motorsports (@FrontRowNASCAR) March 20, 2015 Buescher will replace Brett Moffitt , who shifted over to the No. 55 Toyota for Brian Vickers . Moffitt, a Michael Waltrip Racing development driver, had made starts in the past two races in the No. 34 Ford. Vickers is out for the Auto Club 400 due to a recurrence of blood clots. "We have no Cup starts so this will be the first," Buescher said in a Ford release. "I've run a lot of Cup test sessions and throughout the years I've done a lot at Roush Fenway on the Cup side, but this will be the first race. The circumstances that bring it about are not ideal. We wish Brian Vickers the best and want to try to do the best we can for Front Row Motorsports now at this point." Getting Buescher in the No. 34 Ford all came together very quickly. "I was actually getting breakfast over by the hotel and Robbie Reiser called me," Buescher said. "It's kind of similar to the way my first XFINITY race went down. I was getting ready for an ARCA race and got the call and was rushed to Richmond, so it's been wild. I'm happy to help out Front Row and help out another Ford team. We're trying to all work the best we can to make this happen as smoothly as possible. It's going to be a wild weekend between the two schedules. I's excited to get the opportunity, so I appreciate that very much, but we're gonna have to be on our toes this weekend." Buescher is currently second in the XFINITY Series point standings and has two top-five finishes in four races. The 22-year-old Texas native won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last summer for his first NASCAR national series win. "We still have to put our focus on the XFINITY side," Buescher said. "We're in contention to win a championship and we need to make sure that our effort is on that area, but, at the same time, we're more than happy to help out on the Cup side and try to help these guys have a good, solid run and stay up there in points." David Ragan , who has driven the No. 34 Ford for the past three seasons, currently is filling in for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing . Ragan delivered Front Row Motorsports its first win in 2013 at Talladega Superspeedway . In addition to the No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports fields two other Sprint Cup entries, the No. 35 driven by Cole Whitt and the No. 38 driven by David Gilliland . MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule