James Buescher and Justin Lofton traded the lead back and forth officially four times. Then they traded paint coming to the white flag in the tri-oval before Buescher bounced off and then drove off to victory lane to win the thrilling Drive Smart Buckle Up Kentucky 150 Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.
"We got into each other a little bit but it was good racing," Buescher said. "This car was amazing on the restarts. It definitely has a good transmission in it. Every time I get in this car I know it has a chance to win."
Buescher, in Kevin Cywinski's Wolfpack Rentals Toyota, led three times for 57 laps en route to his third career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his 16th series start. Buescher, who led off the season with a victory at Daytona driving for the same Win-Tron Racing team, fought an ill-handling racecar most of the day before the crew turned things around.
"The car was terrible in practice and they turned it around before the end of practice and got it going pretty good. Justin (Lofton) raced me awesome and I want to thank him for racing me clean."
Lofton, after leading 43 laps, finished second in Eddie Sharp's Lofton Cattle Toyota.
"My restarts really weren't as good as James's (Buescher); and then when I was passing a lapped car I think I ran over a piece of debris and it put a little hole in the nose of my car, which messed with the down force a little bit and made it challenging," said Lofton. "James's car was tight until they loosened it up during the pit stop so I think both of us had our little problems with our cars; that just made things that much more interesting. I don't think you could ask for better side-by-side racing for the lead than what you saw today."
Indeed Buescher and Lofton spent several laps side-by-side throughout the race before Buescher finally sealed the deal in the closing laps.
Wildwood, Missouri's Jesse Smith finished third in the Venturini Motorsports Lloyd's BBQ-Hormel-Spam-Childs Tire Chevrolet.
"We were fast in practice and fast in the race," said Smith. "We were having a little trouble on our restarts. We were loose in the beginning but we got it better as the night went on."
Brian Ickler, in only his second career start, finished fourth in the BrianIckler.com Toyota.
Frank Kimmel, in the Ansell-Menards Ford, finished fifth.
"Unfortunately, I think that a top-five was better than we could have expected for today," said Kimmel. "We've really been battling the handling of these cars this year but we're getting better and hopefully within the next couple weeks, we'll be up front contending for wins."
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care Sunday afternoon, May 17 at Toledo Speedway.
Sparta, Ky., (AP) _ The official finish for Saturday's Drive Smart Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 for ARCA RE/MAX Series stock cars with starting position in parenthesis, driver, hometown, type of car, laps completed, and reason out of race, if any:
1. (1) James Buescher, Plano, Texas, Toyota, 100; 2. (2) Justin Lofton, Westmorland, Calif., Toyota, 100; 3. (4) Jesse Smith, Wildwood, Mo., Chevrolet, 100; 4. (33) Brian Ickler, Mooresville, N.C., Toyota, 100; 5. (3) Frank Kimmel, Clarksville, Ind., Ford, 100; 6. (6) Patrick Sheltra, Indiantown, Fla., Dodge, 100; 7. (10) Craig Goess, Greenville, N.C., Toyota, 100; 8. (23) Robb Brent, Shelby Township, Mich., Dodge, 100; 9. (5) Bryan Silas, Stuart, Fla., Ford, 100; 10. (27) Alex Yontz, Walnut Cove, N.C., Chevrolet, 100; 11. (16) Ken Weaver, Dallas, Texas, Dodge, 100; 12. (90) Gabi DiCarlo, Phoenix, Ariz., Toyota, 100; 13. (35) Jonathon Eilen, Hampton, Minn., Dodge, 100; 14. (9) Tim George, Jr., New York, N.Y., Toyota, 100; 15. (34) Austin Dillon, Welcome, N.C., Chevrolet, 100; 16. (32) Michael Disdier, Nice, France, Ford, 99; 17. (8) Parker Kligerman, Westport, Conn., Dodge, 98; 18. (14) Jeremy Petty, Smolan, Kan., Chevrolet, 98; 19. (36) Dustin Delaney, Mayfield, N.Y., Chevrolet, 97; 20. (12) Stephan McCurley, Humble, Texas, Chevrolet, 97; 21. (25) Tom Berte, New Berlin, Wis., Chevrolet, 97; 22. (28) Kevin Belmont, Langhorne, Pa., Ford, 97; 23. (15) Darrell Basham, Henryville, Ind., Chevrolet, 95; 24. (22) Brad Smith, Shelby Township, Mich., Ford, 94; 25. (29) Mikey Kile, Westlake, La., Chevrolet, 92, accident; 26. (37) Sean Corr, Goshen, N.Y., Ford, 92; 27. (7) Tom Hessert, Cherry Hill, N.J., Ford, 91; 28. (13) Joey Coulter, Miami Springs, Fla., Chevrolet, 89; 29. (11) Steve Arpin, Fort Frances, Ont., Toyota, 79, accident; 30. (29) J.R. Heffner, Pittsfield, Mass., Chevrolet, 44, accident; 31. (19) Mike Koch, Mountain Home, Ark., Ford, 22, clutch; 32. (26) Jason Basham, Henryville, Ind., Chevrolet, 13, transmission; 33. (17) Todd Antrican, Miamisburg, Ohio, Chevrolet, 12, vibration; 34. (30) Butch Jarvis, Blountville, Tenn., Chevrolet, 6, engine; 35. (31) Greg Seevers, West Milton, Ohio, Chevrolet, 3, vibration; 36. (18) James Hylton, Inman, S.C., Dodge, 0, accident; 37. (20) Barry Fitzgerald, Sykesville, Md., Ford, 0, engine.
Time of race: 1 hour, 32 minutes, 23 seconds; Margin of victory: .928 seconds; Caution flags: 9 for 47 laps; Lap leaders: Buescher 1-13, Lofton 14-52, Buescher 53-78, Lofton 79-82, Buescher 83-100.
Post Race Special Awards
Menards Pole Award by Ansell: None; Field set by 2009 Car Owner Points
Highest Finishing Rookie: Craig Goess, No. 81 Greenville Toyota Toyota
Cometic Crew Chief of the Race: Mike Chaffee, No. 32 Wolf Pack Rentals Toyota
Klotz Engine Mechanic of the Race: Mike Chaffee, No. 32 Wolf Pack Rentals Toyota
CGS Imaging Hard Charger: Brian Ickler, No. 51 BrianIckler.com Toyota (Advanced 29 positions)
Aaron's Lap Leader: James Buescher, No. 32 Wolf Pack Rentals Toyota
TOP TEN UNOFFICIAL ARCA RE/MAX SERIES POINTS AFTER THE DRIVE SMART! BUCKLE-UP KENTUCKY 150 AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY (5-9-09);1) Justin Lofton, 1285; 2) Parker Kligerman, 1210; 3) Frank Kimmel, 1205; 4) Patrick Sheltra, 1135; 5) Bryan Silas, 1120; 6) Craig Goess, 1050; 7) Tim George Jr., 1030; 8) Steve Arpin, 935; 9) Ken Weaver, 885; 10; Joey Coulter, 880.