Points leader James Buescher is looking forward to competing in a Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for the first time in two years.
Buescher enters the next-to-final race of the season with a 15-point lead over rookie Ty Dillon. Last week, Dillon finished fifth at Texas and shaved six points off of Buescher's advantage.
After leading 31 laps in the early going at Texas, Buescher got hit from behind by Matt Crafton and then bumped into the back of Nelson Piquet Jr. during a restart. He then experienced a vibration, which caused him to fade in the field and therefore resulted in an 11th-place finish.
"Last (race) there we had a rough weekend, but this team has put that weekend behind us," Buescher said. "I feel that all teams are on an even playing field heading into this weekend, with the track going through a reconfiguration and resurface since the last time we raced here. To better prepare myself for this weekend, I've been watching a lot of film of previous races."
The Truck Series has not raced at Phoenix since February 25, 2011. It was scheduled as the second event of the season that year, following Daytona. Buescher failed to qualify at Phoenix, but after a remarkable turnaround during the season, he came up 29 points short of the championship, which was won by Austin Dillon, who is Ty's older brother. Austin is now a rookie in the Nationwide Series.
Buescher has competed in two previous truck races at Phoenix, finishing 23rd (2009) and 11th (2010). Dillon will make his first truck start there on Friday.
"I'm confident we'll have a solid finish at Phoenix," Dillon said. "I've raced there in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West car before and ran well. We'll have all the notes from the last two seasons when my brother ran there, so I feel good about this weekend."
Timothy Peters is currently 25 points behind Buescher, while Parker Kligerman trails by 27. Joey Coulter (-43), Matt Crafton (-47) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (-81) are still mathematically eligible for the title.
It is possible that Buescher could clinch the championship at Phoenix. He would have to leave there with at least a 48-point lead over the second-place driver.
Thirty-eight teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Lucas Oil 150.
Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Friday, Nov. 9. Race: Lucas Oil 150. Site: Phoenix International Raceway. Track: one-mile oval. Start time: 8 p.m.(ET). Laps: 150. Miles: 150. 2011 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: Speed. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.