Race Weekend Central

Chris Buescher: From Pulling Weeds to Winning at North Wilkesboro

Unlike most of his competitors, Chris Buescher turned laps around North Wilkesboro Speedway just four years ago.

It was in his farm truck.

Back in 2019, Buescher was part of the volunteer group Dale Earnhardt Jr. led up to the then-defunct track to clean up the racing surface for iRacing to scan.

“Dale was tweeting about it,” Buescher told Frontstretch. “… And he put that out that, ‘Look, for iRacing, we’re going to try to get this thing cleaned up and scan it to preserve for our history.’

“I’m definitely not as knowledgeable on the history of our sport like he is, but to me, it was like, ‘Man, that’s worth going and doing.'”

So Buescher and his friend and fellow driver Bayley Currey made the haul to Wilkes County, North Carolina, with Buescher bringing his skid steer, dump trailer and other heavy-duty equipment.

“I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got some equipment. I’ll come up there and run these things and help you out,'” Buescher said. “… Turns out, didn’t need quite the heavy equipment.

“They’d gotten ahead of us a little bit on that. So we went around with a shovel and a hoe and tried to pick out all of the mud out of the cracks and the weeds and get it ready to scan.”

So why would a driver from Texas who was three years old the last time NASCAR raced at the track and has no personal connection to it give up a free day to go do yard work there?

“I’ve driven down Route 421 here to Bristol so many times,” Buescher said. “I’ve watched the evergreens grow up through the stands and watched the place just fade away.”

See also
Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher Dominate All-Star Heat Races From Pole

Not only was Buescher unable to use his heavy equipment on the track cleaning efforts, but Earnhardt didn’t let him run the power sweeper around the track either.

“He didn’t let me drive the power sweeper,” Buescher said. “I think he was partial to it.”

But Buescher did at least get to make some laps around the track that day in a truck. No, not a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series truck.

“I got to make some laps in my little farm truck around here just to say I did before it got inevitably torn down,” Buescher said.

However, the track never was torn down.

It was a “miserably” cold, wet day, but Earnhardt, Buescher, Currey and the rest of the 25-30 volunteers got the track cleaned up enough so that iRacing could scan and upload it to its service. That paved the way for the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series to host a race at the track in 2020 on national TV during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That event led to the revival of the track for a CARS Tour race and other series last summer. And that led to the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, a race that Buescher qualified for via his win in the Bristol Night Race last year, being held at North Wilkesboro.

“Here we are, it’s come so far,” Buescher said. “Never would’ve thought that’s what was coming. It was cool to look back and say, ‘Man, I was a part of it before I knew it could really lead to something better.'”

And on Saturday night (May 20), Buescher won the second Cup heat race at North Wilkesboro, leading the entirety of the event in the process.

About the author

Michael Massie is a writer for Frontstretch. Massie, a Richmond, Va. native, has been a NASCAR superfan since childhood, when he frequented races at Richmond International Raceway. Massie is a lover of short track racing and travels around to the ones in his region. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via