Last season, Chris Buescher made a move to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with Front Row Motorsports, surprising everybody as he made the Chase for the Championship following a victory at Pocono Raceway. He’ll look to once again qualify for the Chase this year, except with a different team.
Over the off-season, Buescher moved to JTG Daughtry to drive the No. 37 Chevrolet, which caught everybody off-guard with Buescher being under a development contract with Roush Fenway who runs Fords. While Buescher says he remains under contract with Roush, it’s not something he’s thinking about as we close in on the season. Instead, all of his focus is on going “full tilt” with JTG.
“We’re working on this season getting integrated with everybody over there,” he said. “It has been a transition coming over to a new team for the second year in a row trying to get to know everybody. We have a new crew chief, a new manufacturer with Chevrolet, and I’m just really focused on getting through this year. We haven’t looked anywhere past that. 2017 is looking to be a great year, though.”
For JTG, it has made things interesting as the team is making the switch from a single-car organization to a two-car organization. They’ve had to bring in some new employees, which some came from Roush Fenway while others came from other teams.
“I’ve really liked everybody that has come onboard,” Buescher said. “They are all working together really well. I feel like we have a really good group behind us and I think it will turn out to be a great season.”
A.J. Allmendinger has driven for the team over the past couple of years, and will once again in 2017, with limited success. He’s had some strong runs, including a top-five at Martinsville and being a threat to win at the road courses though has struggled and run in the mid-20s. Despite that, there were some positive signs near the end of the year with Allmendinger able to break into the top-15, including a couple of top-10s, to close out the season.
“Looking at the momentum that AJ (Allmendinger) and the 47 team had in the second half of last year is very promising,” Buescher said. “It makes us optimistic to get rolling to Daytona and especially past that once we get to Atlanta and that West Coast swing.”
As the team makes the adjustment, the drivers are also learning about being teammates as Buescher admits not knowing Allmendinger that well before this arrangement. However, since being able to do some events together, Buescher has found his new teammate to be very outgoing, wide open, and full of energy.
“We all know that AJ is probably the best road racer in the garage,” he said. “That second half of last season that whole JTG group did well at all the racetracks they went to. He’s very good at Martinsville, very good at Richmond and a lot of these other racetracks that I haven’t been very good at. He’s also been very good at Bristol, which I feel was probably our best track last year.”
Based on what he’s seen thus far, Buescher is full of positivity, believing the pair can work together, as well as with their Richard Childress Racing teammates through the technical alliance, to have a solid 2017.
All that’s left now is to see if the statistics at the end of the year will match his hopes.
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