David Ragan Helping Summer Shootout Racer Chris Buescher
Chris Buescher, of Prosper, Texas, has one of the most unique sponsors among the more than 200 racers who compete each Tuesday night in the Quaker Steak & Lube Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Among those supporting the 15-year-old's racing program is NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Ragan, a veteran of the Bandolero and Legends Car ranks who still makes sporadic appearances in the grassroots racing series.
Ragan recently signed Buescher as a David Ragan Racing development driver.
"I grew up watching him win Legends Car races in the younger divisions and when he got a little older, he bought a NASCAR Late Model from me," Ragan explained. "That's how our relationship started."
According to Buescher, Ragan has been very supportive and helpful.
"David tries to make it to as many races as he can," Buescher said.
"He helps us out as much as he can."
This support, Ragan says, is extremely important for a young and talented driver.
"I can remember a few years ago when I needed somebody to help me or to mention some heads-up things to pay attention to in the future. I really wanted that person," Ragan said. "I feel like Chris is a good kid. He doesn't have a smart mouth, he's a hard worker who is really focused on his racing and, best of all, he's a pretty good race car driver. So I try to help him out any way I can."
Buescher also has ties to another NASCAR series. While spending the summer in North Carolina, he and his family are staying with Matt Puccia, crew chief for the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing entry driven by Erik Darnell in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
"He has a house at Lake Norman," Buescher said. "He helps us out by giving us a place to live for the summer."
This is the fourth year Buescher and his family have made the long trek from the Lone Star State to North Carolina so the youngster can compete against the nation's best Legends Car drivers in the Pull-A-Part Pro division.
Buescher finished fifth in the Pull-A-Part Legends Car points standings last season, winning one of the 10 Summer Shootout races. He also captured the 2007 Legends Car Pro division championship at Texas Motor Speedway.
"We've won well over 50 total races," Buescher said. "We won 21 just in the first half of last year."
Racing since age 6, Buescher started competing in motocross and then made the switch to Bandoleros, where he was among the winners during the 2004 Bandolero Nationals. In addition to competing in Legends Cars, Buescher visited victory lane in his ASA Speed Truck Challenge Series debut earlier this year at Tucson Raceway Park in Arizona.
Buescher, who does a lot of the work on his race cars, relishes the unique identity racing gives him among his friends.
"Where I'm from, everything kind of revolves around football," he said. "I've always liked racing and I could never really pick a sport through school, so I just kind of figured I'd try something different than everyone else."
As for his long-term racing aspirations, Buescher isn't sure what lies ahead.
"My dad's been helping me, my mom and everyone-David and Ken Ragan too-so as long as everyone's here, we'll keep going," he concluded.
The 10-race Quaker Steak & Lube Summer Shootout runs each Tuesday night through Aug. 12.
Admission is just $7 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Tickets are available in advance at the speedway ticket office and at Gates 4 and 5 the night of the event. Parking is free.
Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action at 5:30 p.m.
Feature racing beings at 7:30 p.m. For information, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or visit us online.