|Making his first start in the No. 99 Rheem Toyota Camry for RAB Racing, a rain shortened qualifying session had James Buescher rolling off the starting grid for the DRIVE4COPD300 at Daytona International Speedway in the 14th position. When the green flag fell, Buescher wasted no time making his way to the front of the field. By the time the field made their way back to the start/finish line to complete lap one, Buescher had already moved up to the sixth running position. It was on lap nine that the first of five yellow flags slowed the competition. A call from crew chief Chris Rice had their No. 99 Rheem Toyota Camry come down pit road to top off their Rheem Camry with Sunoco fuel.|
Buescher continued to run inside the top-10 for most of the 121-laps. It was on lap 85 that NASCAR penalized No. 99 of Buescher for a rules infraction. Buescher had to serve a pass-through penalty down pit road. After serving the penalty, Buescher rejoined the race in the 26th position. With the field bearing down on Buescher, The RAB Racing No. 99 Rheem team caught a fortunate break when a yellow flag for debris was displayed on lap 94. This yellow flag allowed the No. 99 Rheem team to catch back up to the tail end of the field and make a final stop for four tires and fuel. With the laps dwindling down, Buescher had to work fast to get back into contention. Buescher was able to climb up to the 13th position before the final yellow flag was displayed on lap 117. This yellow set up the first attempt at the green-white-checkered finish. For the final effort to secure a top-10 finish, Buescher worked with his Toyota Racing teammates. Buescher however came up shy at the line and finished in the 16th position.
"It's obviously not the finish we were hoping for coming out of the first race of the year," said Buescher. "Right from the start we were able to move up to the front of the pack and run with the leaders. It was then that I knew that we had a strong Rheem Toyota Camry and knew that we could contend for a top-five and possibly even a win. I can't thank everyone enough at RAB Racing for all their hard work during the off-season preparing a very competitive Toyota Camry. It's situations like what happened today that build character and my RAB Racing team will bounce back from this and come back even stronger next week."
The NASCAR Nationwide Series resumes action Saturday, March 1st when they travel out west their first of two visits at the Phoenix International Raceway for the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 presented by COTTON. The event can be seen on ABC starting at 3:30pm ET.