By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be considered the benchmark for every race team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. To run well at the 2.5-mile speedway it takes stealth-like aerodynamics, incredible horsepower to rocket down the long straightaways, and impeccable handling to get through all four of the iconic track’s sharp turns. While the mega-teams like Joe Gibbs Racing lead the way, one race team showed massive improvement in this year’s Brickyard 400 — Front Row Motorsports.
Before this past Sunday, the race team had appeared in eight editions of the crown jewel event in Speedway, Indiana, but their results were lackluster to say the least. The highest finish any FRM driver had ever achieved at Indianapolis was a 24th-place effort by Travis Kvapil in 2010. Overall, the team had recorded a mediocre average finish of 33.2 between 18 Brickyard 400 starts with a plethora of drivers including Kvapil, John Andretti, David Ragan, David Gilliland and many more.
Knowing the team’s history at the Brickyard makes what they accomplished Sunday even more remarkable.
Both of Front Row’s drivers — Chris Buescher and Landon Cassill — came home with top-20 finishes.
Buescher, a rookie, recorded a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career-best finish of 14th, while Cassill brought his red Snap Fitness Ford back to the garage with a 20th-place finish. It was a banner day, and it speaks volumes as to the direction the once fledgling team is heading. After those results, Buescher is excited to try his hand this week in Pocono.
“We had a pretty good run and a good finish at Indianapolis last weekend, and I think we can carry over some things from Indy to Pocono,” Buescher said in a team release. “There are a lot of similarities between the two tracks. I’m excited to get back to Pocono for the second time. Just going back to a race track for a second time with notes, with the same team, is something I’ve been looking forward to this second part of the season.”
The team continues to get stronger as the year forges on, and a lot of it has to do with the extensive changes they made in the offseason. Not only was the driver roster overhauled by adding Buescher and Cassill, but the team decided to go with a ‘less is more’ strategy and cut down from three full-time teams to just two. Additionally the team struck up a technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing, and the relationship has seemingly been paying huge dividends for both organizations. If the team can keep their current trajectory, we could see them as constant competitors near the front of the pack.