By Jeff Olson, NASCAR Wire Service
Chris Buescher isn’t fond of points racing or being cautious. But when it comes to Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:45 p.m. ET on NBC), he might have to do a little of both.
Buescher leads Chase Elliott by 18 points, Ty Dillon by 22 and Regan Smith by 24 going into the race. With such narrow margins, Buescher will try to balance caution with aggression.
“You’ve got to be a little bit more careful, but at the same time, I’ve been pretty adamant about how much I hate points racing,” Buescher said. “So I want to go have a good day, and I feel like this has been a good racetrack for us. I’ve only run one race there but had a lot of fun last year, first and foremost, and was able to get a top five out of it. So I feel like this should be a good weekend for us. We just have to continue doing what we’ve done all year.”
While he’ll try to race as usual while aware of his competitors, they’ll be able to race with abandon.
“You always push yourself to want more no matter what, and you’re never satisfied unless you’re winning in this sport,” Dillon said. “I think it’s one of the only sports where there’s 43 people playing or participating each week and there’s only one winner, so that makes 42 losers a week. You’re always wanting to be that guy winning, and I want to be a champion for my team and myself, so it’s something that I’m going to continue to push for.”
Elliott, who will replace retiring Jeff Gordon with Hendrick Motorsports next season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, said Buescher doesn’t need any advice.
“He doesn’t need my help,” Elliott said. “He’s done a good job, and those guys are deserving of the position they’re in, and for the rest of us trying to catch up, I know at least I can speak for myself, that we need to do a better job and try to catch up. We have an opportunity to do that this weekend.”
Buescher, a 23-year-old from Prosper, Texas, is one of four Roush Fenway Racing drivers in the top 10 in the XFINITY Series standings – Elliott Sadler, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Ryan Reed being the others.
“I’ve been under the radar all my life,” Buescher said. “(I’m) not opposed to it, so I’ve been able to have good success coming up through various series and been able to accomplish a lot to get to this point. It’s a little bit more of a quiet way to get there, but we’re here. We’ve made it this far. It’s going to be a good weekend. We’ve just got to go race. That’s what we’ve been trying to do all my life. This is the scenario I’ve been working toward for many years.”
Note: Daniel Suárez leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings by 40 points over second-place Darrell Wallace Jr. heading into the season finale. If Suárez clinches, he will become the first Mexican-born driver and second NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate to earn the award in a NASCAR national series. Suárez and Wallace are also NASCAR Next alumni.
Image: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images