Seventy-six races into his Camping World Truck Series career, James Buescher finally rang the big bell.
Buescher dominated Saturday’s SFP 250 race at Kansas Speedway and coasted to his first series victory (and Turner Motorsports’ second in a row after Kasey Kahne’s Rockingham win last week).
Buescher now has logged his first Truck and Nationwide Series wins this year.
The Texas driver had scored 19 top-five finishes in the Truck series prior to Saturday’s breakthrough.
“We’ve had a lot of second-place finishes,” Buescher said. “Hats off to these guys. This was a brand new truck. Turner Motorsports trucks are pretty awesome. To get two in a row is saying something.
“This is a great truck. We’ll dust it off and take it to Charlotte.”
Buescher led 47 laps in the first half of the race and steadily built a big cushion in the second half. When the race’s final green-flag pit stop round started, he had a 5.6-second lead over second place Timothy Peters.
After the round of pit stops, during which the lead-pack teams tried a variety of strategies, Sprint Cup invader Brad Keselowski had a lead of about a second on Buescher. But Buescher, who got four tires during his stop versus two for Keselowski, passed Keselowski quickly for the lead and rolled on.
With five laps to go, Buescher had a 3.3-second lead over Keselowski.
Buescher, 22, has been climbing. He finished third at Martinsville and second at Rockingham in the past two races.
There was no doubt about his situation Saturday. He led 103 of the race’s 167 laps.
Peters stayed in the series point lead and left the race four points in front of Buescher.
Finishing behind Buescher in the top five Saturday were Peters, Keselowski, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Todd Bodine.
The first part of the race was marked by a violent multi-truck race on lap 41.
The incident began with contact between the trucks of Ron Hornaday Jr. and Paulie Harraka. They slid through the fourth turn and caused following traffic to crash. Brennan Newberry, David Starr and Russ Dugger also were involved in the crash.
The day’s first caution flew when rookie Jeb Burton slapped the wall on the second lap.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.