Buescher begins Truck Series title defense at Daytona

The Camping World Truck Series will kick off its new season on Friday night at Daytona International Speedway.

James Buescher also will begin his campaign for a second straight truck championship. No driver has ever won back-to-back titles in trucks. Buescher won a series-high four races last year. The driver of the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet also posted 10 top-five finishes and 14 top-10s.

"I'm happy that the season is finally here," Buescher said. "We had a great offseason, and the guys at the shop have worked extremely hard all winter to put some great trucks in our fleet. We have a new sponsor with Rheem on board, and I'm looking forward to an exciting 2013 and bringing the championship back to Turner Scott Motorsports. In the past, we've had some great trucks at Daytona, just not the finishes to show for it."

Buescher will face many of last year's rivals in the Truck Series championship battle. Timothy Peters finished second while Joey Coulter and Ty Dillon placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 2012 point standings. Coulter has moved from the No. 22 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

"We feel like we have a great shot at it," Coulter said. "All the things that we've learned working together the past few years, we can plug into the winning formula that KBM has already established. If we can mesh everything together and get off to a really good start, I think that we'll be the team to beat at the end of the year."

Earlier this month, KBM introduced Darrell Wallace Jr. as the full-time driver of the No. 54 Toyota in trucks. Wallace, 19, will become just the fourth African-American driver to compete full-time in one of NASCAR's top-three racing series. He is a graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Program and has been a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing.

"This is my foot in the door right now," Wallace said. "The door is not open yet. I'm just holding it open right now with my foot, and I have to keep pushing through to get it all the way open and land something full time, and that's the biggest thing."

Coulter and Wallace will be competing against their boss, Kyle Busch, who is the only Sprint Cup Series competitor entered in the truck race at Daytona. Busch is scheduled to run in 10 events this year, driving the No. 51 Toyota.

"I don't know if (Busch) will give me too much advice," Wallace noted. "I'm going to give him a run for his money each and every race that we're together."

John King is the defending race winner. King recently grabbed a ride for this event. He will drive the No. 33 Chevrolet for Eddie Sharp Racing.

Thirty-nine teams are on the preliminary entry list for the NextEra Energy Resources 250.

Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Friday, Feb. 22. Race: NextEra Energy Resources 250. Site: Daytona International Speedway. Track: 2.5-mile tri-oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 100. Miles: 250. 2012 Winner: John King. Television: Speed. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.