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Heat expected factor in Kentucky weekend

Heat expected factor in Kentucky weekend

Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 7:00 pm

By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
SPARTA, Ky. (AP) — As the mercury climbed, so did James Buescher’s confidence.
Buescher held the lead for most of the way in temperatures approaching 100 degrees, fending off challengers to win the NASCAR Truck Series race Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.
Asked about the oppressive heat, Buescher tried hard not to smirk.
“I’m from Texas,” he said, hesitating for emphasis. “I mowed my grass yesterday and it was 103. I like to say I’m ready for the heat all summer long.”
Buescher, who started the night fourth in the season standings, took the lead in his Turner Motorsports Chevrolet for the first time just 27 laps into the 150-circuit race and dominated the rest of the way. He was on top for 119 laps.
It was his second career Truck Series victory, following a win this year at Kansas. He also won the season-opening Nationwide race at Daytona.
“For James to dominate like this, it’s awesome,” said team owner Steve Turner. “We feel like we’ve become dominant on a mile-and-a-half track.”
The temperature was 98 degrees — on the track it was 117 — when the race began. The heat contributed to some of the trucks getting loose in the turns. There were seven caution periods covering 31 laps.
Pole-sitter Matt Crafton led at the outset before Buescher took over and didn’t let go.
“This is the third time this year we’ve raced this particular truck and the second time we’ve won with it,” Buescher said. “The truck was phenomenal. We made some changes in practice this morning and the truck came to life. I knew halfway through the first practice that we had a truck that was capable of running up front. Then we made some more changes and it got even better.”
Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski started 17th but steadily climbed back to finish second, 3.805 seconds behind Buescher.
He wasn’t surprised to see the No. 31 truck control the race.
“He’s a really good driver. You can see how he’s matured over the last few years,” said Keselowski, who is competing in all three NASCAR races this weekend in Kentucky. “He’s got a lot of great opportunities to come. We’re all interested to see how he’s going to come out. He’s not winning races because he’s a bad driver, that’s for sure.”
Published in The Messenger 6.29.12

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