CUP: JTG-Daugherty Shows Signs Of Progress After Strong Martinsville Runs

James Pike Cup, Featured Leave a Comment

Sophomore Cup driver Chris Buescher joined JTG Daugherty Racing this year after a season with Front Row Motorsports in 2016. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images for NASCAR photo)

Buescher added that having speed pushes the bar higher and motivates him going forward, knowing that a win and second-straight playoff berth may not be out of reach, after his inaugural victory at Pocono for Front Row Motorsports carried him to his first postseason appearance.

“You want to win! You wanna go up there and say that you’re gonna be competing for a win,” he stressed. “I knew we weren’t quite in contention for a win today, but we made great progress to the point where we were able to drive it close to the top 10, and especially with how the beginning of our season has gone, that’s a big deal. We had that bad finish at Daytona and that’s why we had to start 33rd. It makes for a long day. Track position is tough and if you look at this race car, you know we were at Martinsville and you know we came from the back.”

Buescher was also surprised at the degree to which stage points played into the race, especially in light of the incident between Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Kyle Busch at the end of Stage 2.

“I didn’t think they were gonna become as important as they’ve become, but I’m a visual person and I had to see it play out,” he said. “I think immediately we realized that stage points are gonna be huge for our racing all year long and that’s gonna be a big part of it. People are getting aggressive with it. Martinsville is short track racing and you’re able to get aggressive and get a little bit more out of it. You can bump somebody out of the way and it puts on a good show. But it was a fun day and I had a blast.”

Having a teammate like Allmendinger, who traditionally runs well at Martinsville, helped Buescher immensely.

“This is a place where A.J.’s known to run well and they’re known to have speed on that side and for me, I haven’t run that well here, so for us to be able to get up and get a good finish out of this makes it a good day,” he added. “We made swings at adjustments that really brought the car to life and that’ll be really good for practice the next time we come here. We just kept tweaking on it.”

“We had a lot of setup notes leading into it and we looked at a lot of data and driver overlays just trying to figure out what it is that makes him so good here and how he’s able to get around this place and that did help quite a bit. It’s definitely helpful having a teammate that runs as well as he does here.”

It may well be helpful going forward, too, as the team that appeared to be down-and-out after Atlanta — when Allmendinger received a 35-point penalty for lug nut issues — may yet have a breath of life in their search to return to contention among NASCAR’s elite teams.

At the very least, Sunday’s performances and the two top-11 finishes that came out of it were a step in the right direction towards accomplishing that mission.

JTG Daugherty Racing returns to the track on Sunday for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM).


About the Writer

James Pike is a multi-faceted reporter for Race Chaser Online and an analyst on the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.

Pike is the lead correspondent for Race Chaser Online’s coverage of Australian Supercars and also covers regional touring series events in the Carolinas, including the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and the CARS Tour.

He is a graduate of the Motorsports Management program at Belmont Abbey College and currently resides in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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