Although he’s primarily a XFINITY driver for Roush-Fenway Racing, Chris Buescher has shown some promise in the five Sprint Cup starts he’s made in 2015. He finished 20th in his debut at Fontana, but in his next four races in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford he had three top-25 finishes with a low point of 30th at Texas. Keeping that in mind, could Chris Buescher be the driver that FRM needs?
The No. 34 FRM entry hasn’t been a competitive team save for restrictor plate races with David Ragan. Aside from a surprise win at Talladega in 2013, Ragan has fared worse at FRM than he ever did at Roush Fenway Racing. So considering Ragan’s departure from the No. 34 in 2015, the car has become somewhat of a development ride for younger drivers (with the exception of Joe Nemechek at Atlanta early this season), with Buescher normally sharing the seat with Brett Moffitt.
So although Buescher is gunning for the XFIITY championship piloting the No. 60 for RFR, his Sprint Cup career may in fact benefit with a full-time spot with FRM in 2016 if they’re able to secure sponsorship for the No. 34. He’s matured a lot since the beginning of his rookie season in Xfinity competition in 2014. Despite failing to qualify at Daytona, he proceeded to score a win at Mid-Ohio and finished seventh in the final points.
He’s not a flashy driver and he isn’t excessive. He’s shown he can take care of his equipment, but he may need to work on his qualifying results. Still, he’s been pretty impressive in his first five Sprint Cup starts. FRM would do well to keep a hold of him because for a team looking to improve, he could be that driver that would fit with them.
He’s not going to stay in the XFINITY Series forever, and although RFR could do like Hendrick Motorsports and add a fourth Sprint Cup team, they’ve been steadily declining performance wise since the departure of Matt Kenseth following the 2012 season. If RFR put him behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car we’d see something along the lines of what has befallen Trevor Bayne.
Bayne had a decent XFINITY tenure that was similar to Buescher’s, but has struggled mightily in the Sprint Cup Series since taking over the No. 6 full-time. A lot of that can be attributed to the RFR equipment, and if Buescher is taking any notes he needs to really think if he wants to take the next step with RFR.
Of course, FRM will need to adjust accordingly if they want to truly pursue a future with Buescher. He’s at the forefront of the new swarm of NASCAR stars and if anyone can turn around a team’s fortunes, it’s him. If they go through with it and solidify a deal, look for him to be one of the most productive rookies in recent memory.