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
Buescher : 'We have a good mentality around our group'
Rookie is seventh in points, despite not qualifying for season-opening race RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today For Chris Buescher , 2014 counts as a season of on-track growth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series . The progress has been even more of an eyebrow-raiser considering that the growth was nearly stunted before the season started. Early blips aside, Buescher has rounded into competitive form during his rookie season in Roush Fenway Racing's No. 60 Ford Mustang. He'll hope to build steam from last weekend's mistake-free fourth-place finish at Dover into Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) at Kansas Speedway . The current run of momentum remains in sharp contrast to Buescher's delayed start to the season at Daytona International Speedway in February. Buescher was among nine drivers missing out on Coors Light Pole Qualifying in the series' first try at the new multi-round group qualifying format, a three-round session cut short by rain. Missing the race and starting the season the following weekend at Phoenix left the team facing a large deficit in the series standings. As the campaign has plodded along, the 21-year-old Texan has made the most of the early setback, steadily advancing to seventh place using the team's go-for-broke approach with little stake in the championship fight. All the while, sitting out Daytona has remained in the back of Buescher's mind. "Yeah, we always think about that," he said Saturday after the Dover 200 . "Not getting to make our first Daytona start due to the new format, rain, weather, what have you -- we were extremely fast, but we took it for what it is and we've been going forward understanding that we missed a race and we're still seventh in points. I look at it as a big plus for our whole team. I'm really proud of these guys for sticking with it and going out here. "We've taken a lot of chances this year. We've been in position to do it now. We have nothing to lose in the points, so it's almost been a blessing for us to be able to experiment a little bit and take some chances that you usually wouldn't do." The highlight of Buescher's progression came in August, when he emerged at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for his first career victory. Since then, the finishes have been solid but not spectacular -- up until last weekend's super-steady top-five result at the Monster Mile. Though making monumental steps further up in the standings is virtually out of reach -- Buescher ranks 78 points behind sixth-place Trevor Bayne , his Roush Fenway teammate -- the team still has chances to make strides over the final five races of the season. "I mean, that's our goal," said Scott Graves, Buescher's crew chief. "The end of the season, we're definitely talking that we want to be top-five and in contention every week. Just really want to show people that we're here and we're for real and finish off strong, for sure." That quest begins this weekend at Kansas, where Buescher finished 16th last year in just his ninth career Nationwide Series start. His results this season on 1.5-mile tracks have been a hodgepodge, but his portfolio of four top-10 finishes in eight races on intermediate-sized tracks this year provides hope. "It's been a struggle at first, but we've made a lot of gains," said Buescher , who took seventh place in the series most recent race at a 1.5-mile track, two weeks ago at Kentucky. "Our last couple of mile-and-a-halfs have been really good, so I think we can build on that, go out there and contend and get these top-fives." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Chris Buescher will pilot the No. 34 for the second straight week Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live RELATED: Entry list for Martinsville Three interim drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will reprise their roles for the second straight race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway based on the entry list for the STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Brett Moffitt will drive the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota in place of Brian Vickers , who will miss the next three months of competition after doctors discovered a recurrence of blood clots last week. Vickers has resumed taking blood-thinning medication, which precludes him from racing. Moffitt, a developmental driver for MWR, is scheduled to make his 12th Sprint Cup start and his first in the premier series at Martinsville in Sunday's STP 500 . He finished 22nd Sunday at Auto Club Speedway . Chris Buescher , a NASCAR XFINITY Series regular, will return to the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 Ford for the second straight week. Buescher finished 20th in his Sprint Cup debut Sunday at Auto Club as a last-minute fill-in when Moffitt was named as Vickers' replacement. Front Row later confirmed Buescher's return to the No. 34 on Twitter. . @Chris_Buescher will return to the No. 34 for @MartinsvilleSwy weekend. pic.twitter.com/0viNgEUyTx — FrontRow Motorsports (@FrontRowNASCAR) March 23, 2015 Buescher ranks second in XFINITY Series standings, just five points behind series leader Ty Dillon . David Ragan will continue as interim driver of Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 18 Toyota in place of the injured Kyle Busch , who suffered fractures of both legs in last month's XFINITY opener at Daytona International Speedway . With Busch out indefinitely, Ragan is scheduled to pilot the JGR No. 18 for the next several weeks before returning to his regular ride in the Front Row No. 34. 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
Chris Buescher has just enough fuel to hold off the field and earn his first career NNS victory at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Buescher's Mid-Ohio victory gave the Nationwide Series three rookie winners
Kyle Larson spins on Lap 89, coming down the track and hitting Chris Buescher .
Joey Logano and Regan Smith leave Dover wondering what could have been, while Chris Buescher brings home his best finish since the win at Mid-Ohio.
Get up to speed before Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m., FOX) Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live What: 19th Annual Auto Club 400 . Where: Auto Club Speedway , Fontana, California When: Sunday, March 22; 3:30 pm ET. TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Distance: 200 laps; 400 miles Pit road speed: 55 mph Caution car speed: 65 mph Fuel window: 40 laps On the front row " Full starting lineup 1. Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Chevrolet (185.142 mph) 2. Kevin Harvick , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet (185.047 mph) Fast fact: Jimmie Johnson (2008) is the only driver to win this race from the pole. Failed to qualify Reed Sorenson , RAB Racing No. 29 Toyota; Travis Kvapil Team Xtreme No. 44 Chevrolet Fastest in practice First practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (186.741 mph) " Full results Second practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (187.115 mph) " Full results Final practice: Kurt Busch , Stewart-Haas Racing , No. 41 Chevrolet (184.971 mph) " Full results Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and David Ragan (filling in for the injured Kyle Busch ) were also consistently fast in practice. Last year's winner: Kyle Busch won last year's race at Fontana and the race in 2013 but won't be here to defend the title as he remains at home in North Carolina recovering from a broken leg and foot -- injuries sustained in an accident during the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona. On the line: Harvick has finished first or second in the last seven Sprint Cup races dating back to the end of the 2014 season -- a mark last accomplished by Richard Petty 40 years ago. Harvick holds a two-race winning streak entering Sunday's race and a win would give him a sweep of NASCAR's West Coast swing. History lesson: Six-time champ Jimmie Johnson has a series-best five wins at his "home track." The El Cajon, California native is far and away the top-rated driver here. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth (3), Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon (3) and Stewart-Haas Racing 's Tony Stewart are the only other drivers in Sunday's field with multiple wins at Auto Club Speedway . Johnson, Kenseth and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to have made multiple starts here and have top-10 average finishes. Super Subs: Three drivers are substituting for others this weekend. Brett Moffitt , 22, is driving the No. 55 Toyota for regular driver Brian Vickers who is sidelined while taking blood-thinning medication to treat a reoccurrence of blood clots. It's Moffitt's fourth Cup start this year and his second with Michael Waltrip Racing this season. His last start with MWR was an eighth-place finish at Atlanta three weeks ago. David Ragan is driving the defending race-winning No. 18 Toyota car for the injured Busch. XFINITY Series regular Chris Buescher is making his Cup debut in the No. 34 Ford that Moffitt has driven the last two weeks. Redemption: Denny Hamlin is one driver with extra motivation to win here. He was badly injured in an accident while challenging for the lead in the final lap of the 2013 race. Last year, he had to pull out of the race only minutes before the green flag after a piece of metal was embedded in his eye. Hamlin is tied with a series-best three pole positions at Fontana including three straight front row starts from 2011 to 13, yet has only one top-five in 13 starts here to show for it. California Dreamin': There are 10 drivers in Sunday's field from California, the largest representation of any state and a mark of NASCAR's exposure West. The reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Harvick (Bakersfield), along with six-time champ Johnson (El Cajon) and four-time champ Gordon (Vallejo) are among those hailing from the Golden State. Those three drivers have nine wins among them at Auto Club Speedway and California drivers have the most of any state. They said it: "We love coming out here. The weather is great. I was watching clips from this race the last time we were here where we were five-wide through the corners. You can't make that kind of racing up. That is incredible. I think that everybody needs to recognize just how good of a race track this is and also the market and how important it is to NASCAR and its growth." -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet) Driver Rating Best driver rating average at Auto Club Speedway based on past 10 years: Jimmie Johnson , Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet (120.1) Matt Kenseth , Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota (106.2) Tony Stewart , Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet (100.7) Former Auto Club Speedway winners in the field Jimmie Johnson (5); Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth (3); Tony Stewart (2); Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kurt Busch , Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle (1) 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
Chris Buescher describes his emotions during the final laps of his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.