DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Nationwide Series got its turn to test the high banks of Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 on Saturday, Feb. 22, part of Budweiser Speedweeks 2014.
The stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series such as Regan Smith, Ty Dillon, Chase Elliott, James Buescher, Trevor Bayne and Ryan Blaney participated in the two-day testing session that concluded Sunday.
With teams participating in both single-car runs as well as some drafting sessions, Chase and his father and two-time Daytona 500 champion Bill Elliott topped the charts on Saturday.
Chase Elliott, kicking off his rookie campaign in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports, was fastest in the No. 9 Chevrolet with a lap of 187.993 mph followed by his father Bill in the No. 5 Chevrolet at 187.974.
Dylan Kwasniewski was fastest on Sunday for Turner Scott Motorsports in the No. 31 Chevrolet with a lap of 190.022 mph. The younger Elliott was once again near the top of the speed charts, posting the second fastest lap on Sunday of 189.950 mph.
Buescher, who captured the 2012 edition of the DRIVE4COPD 300, is entering this year’s race having made a big change in his driving career. At the end of last year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, Buescher left Turner Scott Motorsports, which is owned by his father-in-law Steve Turner, to join RAB Racing and the No. 99 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Said Buescher of the change: “In some ways it was a really difficult decision from the family aspect and everything that we’ve accomplished together at Turner Scott Motorsports – the championships and race wins and poles and kind of building that organization.
“But I want to make it to the Sprint Cup level, and I want to be a Sprint Cup champion one day. I have to make the moves in my career that are best for me, and I feel like coming over to RAB Racing and Toyota and being able to bring Rheem with me as a sponsor was the best situation for me to be in right now.”
Winning the 2012 DRIVE4COPD 300, held the day before the prestigious Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, has had a major impact on the young career of Buescher, who later on that year won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Buescher was running in 11th place entering Turn 4 on the final lap when a multi-car accident broke out in front of him. Buescher, who was driving for Turner Motorsports at the time, was able to maneuver his way through the accident to bring home the victory.
“It was definitely really big,” Buescher said. “At that point, I had never won a NASCAR sanctioned event. I was relieved to finally win a race, and the fact that I won one when everybody was crashing, there was a lot of doubters that said it was a fluke, and the fact that we were able to go follow that up with four more wins in the Truck Series that year and a championship I think solidified that win that we had here in the Nationwide Series. It makes this place even more special.”
Preseason Thunder will conclude on Monday and Tuesday with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series testing. Fans can watch the testing at no cost from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands.
For more information on tickets for the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 and the DRIVE4COPD 300, race fans can visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA. Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.