It doesn’t take a mind reader to know how significant a victory at Texas Motor Speedway would be for James Buescher.At 23, the defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has achieved beyond his years.And he ranks second in the series points standings, 51 behind leader Matt Crafton.However, the Plano native has not made a trip to Victory Lane at his home track, Texas Motor Speedway.A 10th career appearance at TMS awaits Buescher, who will tour the race track in a Chevrolet for Friday night’s WinStar World Casino 350.The green flag drops at 7:30 p.m.“We’ve had some really solid runs here,” Buescher said Thursday, referring to four top-10 finishes and two poles over the years. “I think we’ve got a good chance.”It helps, too, that teammate Jeb Burton was the most recent winner of a TMS truck race, in June.“I’d say we have the setups, so it should be really fast.”Buescher, now a resident of Katy, arrived a little earlier than his peers to help pass out praise and awards to area students participating in TMS’ Speeding to Read program.“It’s cool to give these kids an incentive to do all the reading and work hard in school,” Buescher said.Truck penalitiesNASCAR announced that Richard Childress Racing crew member Adam Brown has been suspended indefinitely for throwing a hammer at Kevin Harvick’s truck during Saturday’s race at Martinsville Speedway.Ty Dillon’s crew chief, Paul Richmond, was also fined $10,000.As the two drivers raced for position Saturday, Dillon spun out Harvick, also of RCR, and then allegedly harassed him under caution with repeated bumps.Harvick drove into Dillon’s stall on pit road, where Brown allegedly threw the hammer.Not so easyDarrell Wallace Jr., who won last week at Martinsville, was sixth in June at TMS, but appearances were deceiving.“We finished sixth, but it was a struggle to get sixth,” said his crew chief, Jerry Baxter. “We’ve learned a lot since we were here at Texas.”Wallace said he has the benefit of momentum from last week.“We’ve tested and learned some things for our mile-and-a-half program, and I think we have a better package this time around,” Wallace said.Patrick not worn outDanica Patrick, coming off a 17th-place finish at Martinsville, has a little momentum, but she can see the end of the season, too.“When you have a good weekend, you’re ready to keep going. When you have a bad one, you’re ready for it to end,” she said. “Martinsville was a better weekend, and so, you know, we roll on to Texas. “But I’m definitely someone that’s always ready for a little bit of a break at the end of the season. I’m not worn out from racing, but I like having a little bit of time to spend with family and relax. It’s a busy year, and by all means, it’s been the busiest year for me.”Patrick has an average finish of 26.1 in her rookie Sprint Cup season. She sits 28th in points.Martin’s ‘home’ raceMark Martin said he considers Texas Motor Speedway the closest thing he has to a home race, with it being 450 miles from his hometown of Batesville, Ark.“I’ve had a stronger fan following there than anywhere else,” he said. “Sure, I listen in driver introductions when the fans cheer or boo, but I really notice the fans in general throughout the weekend. They are pretty vocal.”Martin is one of four drivers who has run in every Sprint Cup race at TMS. He has one Cup win and three Nationwide Series wins at Texas.Hamlin favorDenny Hamlin is driving in the Nationwide Series race Saturday for Brian Vickers, who is sitting out the rest of the season because of a blood clot. Vickers filled in for Hamlin in the Sprint Cup race at TMS in April.“You know it’s a strange season when Brian filled in for me at Texas when I was hurt, and now I’m filling in for him,” Hamlin said.Hamlin’s last Nationwide start was in this race a year ago, when he finished fifth. He has 11 career Nationwide victories, but none at Texas.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez