(TEMPERANCE, Mich. - March 15, 2013) - ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion Chris Buescher will be returning to the NASCAR Nationwide Series tour this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Buescher, entered in the No. 16 Ford Ecoboost Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing, is among the long list of ARCA Racing Series drivers entered in Saturday's race.
Buescher has two previous Nationwide starts, both in 2011, when he subbed for Trevor Bayne at Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway. He finished 17th in both races.
However, it will be Buescher's first attempt on the Bristol high-banks.
"I really want to finish the race and a top-10 would be great," Buescher said. "It's Bristol and so much can happen that is out of our control. I want to keep my Ford in one piece."
A whopping 77.3% of the 44 drivers entered in the Nationwide race at Bristol are drivers who have had prior experience in the ARCA Racing Series. Eleven drivers among the 77.3% are former ARCA winners, and two, including Buescher, are past ARCA champions.
Past ARCA winners entered include Buescher, Mike Wallace, John Wes Townley, Michael McDowell (ARCA Rookie of Year), Justin Allgaier (past ARCA champion), Reed Sorenson, Chase Miller, Jeremy Clements, Kyle Busch, Parker Kligerman (ARCA Rookie of Year), and Alex Bowman (ARCA Rookie of the Year).
The ratio is also impressive on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series side where 64% of the drivers entered are drivers that have competed in the ARCA Racing Series. Among the 64% of the ARCA drivers entered in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Food City 500 are even more ARCA winners than on the Nationwide side.
In fact, 13 drivers in the Food City 500 at Bristol are former ARCA winners, including Casey Mears, Tony Stewart, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, David Stremme, David Ragan, Ryan Newman, Scott Riggs, Travis Kvapil, Scott Speed and Michael McDowell.
Bristol - Salem ComparisonThe next ARCA event on tour will be the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway (right) on April 28, a track very similar in size and shape to Bristol. Both are high-banked, half-mile paved ovals; however, there are some differences, most notably the condition of the pavement. While Bristol's surface is glass-rock smooth, the racing surface at Salem, which has not been repaved in decades, is noticeably rougher, and that much more of a handful - a character-builder for sure. For the ARCA grads that have muscled their way around Salem, they should be well-groomed for Bristol. Former ARCA winners at Salem entered in the Nationwide race at Bristol this weekend include Buescher (No. 17), Bowman (No. 22), and Allgaier. (Buescher's No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford shows scars at both ends, common for those who compete at Salem. Buescher finished second in that noticeably battered car.)
“I really like going to Bristol for my first race this year," Buescher said. "I’ve run several ARCA races at tracks similar to Bristol. I am a fan of short track racing and I'm looking forward to an exciting race with the new team. I would expect several different racing lines to come in and for the track to widen out. There are several Sprint Cup drivers in the race that will make it that much more challenging. Hopefully it will make for a really good race and a lot of action.”
ARCAracing.com will be tracking the progress of the ARCA graduates throughout the weekend at Bristol.