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
In this From The Road episode, Matthew Dillner explores the history behind The Blakeslee Inn & Restaurants, once owned by Pocono Raceway Founder, Doc Mattioli then turned over to current Pocono Raceway President Brandon Igdalsky.
Wisconsin road course adds fresh asphalt, video displays
Veteran driver set for pair of road events in No. 42 Chevrolet Justin Marks is giving up his Lamborghini to return to the wheel of a stock car, heading to the road courses of Mid-Ohio and Road America later this year to compete for HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi in the two NASCAR XFINITY Series races. Marks, 34, will be behind the wheel of the team’s No. 42 Chevrolet, the same entry that’s been split between Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson and rookie Brennan Poole this season and is headed up by crew chief Mike Shiplett. While he has at least one official start in all three NASCAR national series, Marks' background is endurance sports cars, "so the road courses were always something that was circled on my calendar," he told NASCAR.com. "I've always felt like they were my best chances at winning." Marks ran the same two events last year for the team when it was branded Turner Scott Motorsports, finishing sixth at Mid-Ohio in the No. 31 Chevrolet and running in the top five late at Road America before running out of fuel. After co-owners Harry Scott and Steve Turner severed their ties at the end of the year, Scott and Sprint Cup Series team owner Chip Ganassi teamed up to continue fielding the XFINITY Series operation. "I tried to put my name in the hat as early as possible … for those road courses," Marks said. "I knew Kyle was going to be doing fewer races this year … and that Brennan was going to be coming on with his program. The gaps in the schedule just worked out perfectly." The Mid-Ohio race is scheduled for Aug. 15, when Larson, who has made four XFINITY Series starts this year, will be at Michigan International Speedway for the Sprint Cup race. The Road America race falls on an off-weekend for the Sprint Cup series. "Last year was the first time I'd been in a stock car on a road course in a little while," said Marks. "It was really the first time racing at that level since I quit racing full-time in NASCAR. So there was a little bit of an unknown going into those races. But we were a top-five car at Road America and I think we were the fastest car once it started raining. "At Mid-Ohio, we were just a solid car, fastest in final practice and in the top five or six all race long. So when I look at how we did, knowing I'm familiar with the team, going back to the exact same tracks and knowing my expectations, now having the added asset of Chip Ganassi Racing , all of their engineering and knowledge and expertise behind it will just make the cars that much better. "I think for both of those races, legitimately, we're going there to win. And I really think we can do it, if I do a good job and we make smart decisions, have a good strategy and nothing crazy happens like running out of fuel or get off (pit) sequence for some reason." As for the Lamborghini, it isn't his grocery getter -- Marks is competing full-time in the Blancpain Super Trofeo Series this season, a 12-race series for Lamborghini GT3 entries that is part of the Tudor United SportsCar program. Stops on the schedule include Laguna Seca (completed), Watkins Glen, Virginia International Raceway, Circuit of the Americas, Road Atlanta and Sebring. He and Scott co-own a five-car K&N Pro Series East organization that fields entries for William Byron, Scott Heckert, Dalton Sargeant, Rico Abreu and J.J. Haley. Ownership of the GoPro Motorsports karting complex in Mooresville, North Carolina, and an import/distribution company that supplies high-performance karting equipment also keep Marks on the go. "The K&N team was something that I sort of started talking to Harry about … if there was ever an opportunity for me to (be involved) that I was interested in it," he said. "Because it's a great series and I love trying to help the young guys, these young up-and-comers, and being involved in their careers." In his only NASCAR efforts thus far this season, Marks attempted to qualify for all three season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway with sponsorship from American Born Moonshine. He made the starting fields for the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series races, but was one of six that failed to earn a starting berth in the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Cole Whitt runs into the back of Sam Hornish Jr. when Hornish stops abruptly to avoid contact with Danica Patrick on pit road during practice at Kentucky Speedway.
Take a look ahead at all the action this weekend as the Sprint Cup Series head to Sonoma and the Nationwide Series goes to Road America .
Chat with NASCAR fans while following the races at Sonoma and Road America
Series will be at road course back-to-back weekends
Tagliani's first Nationwide appearance this season will be June 21 at Road America
Justin Allgaier finished second in the Johnsonville Sausage 200. He gained 30 points in the Nationwide Series standings, making him the Mobil 1 Driver of the Race at Road America .