Even though the top three NASCAR series were off on Sunday, there was no shortage of racing going on. At Iowa Speedway, the annual East/West showdown between the two K&N Pro Series took place, and the ARCA cars descended on Toledo Speedway for the first of two events this season. At Iowa, Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Max Gresham won his second straight race, beating Richard Childress’ grandson Ty Dillon to the line by .039 seconds. In Toledo, Roush Fenway Racing development driver Chris Buescher outlasted Joey Coulter, and veterans Frank Kimmel, Ken Schrader and Matt Crafton to win his first ever ARCA race.
By winning at Iowa, Gresham added his name to a pretty impressive list of past winners of the dual series event. Kyle Busch, Brian Ickler, and Joey Logano are all past winners. Gresham is a rookie running for the championship this season in the K&N Pro Series East and he is also scheduled to make select starts in the ARCA Series.
Gresham, a 17 year old from Griffin, GA, was running Legends cars at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway only 4 years ago, and is already a decorated racer. After graduating to latemodels in 2007 , he finished fifth in the Georgia Asphalt Series points in 2008, and won two races last year in the ASA Southeast Tour. With two K&N wins already this season, the future looks very bright.
Buescher took no time this weekend showing his competition that he was at Toledo to win. His #17 Ford was fastest in practice on Saturday, and he followed that up by sitting on the pole before he led 126 of 200 laps in route to his first ARCA win. The 17 year old driver from Prosper, TX won in just his ninth ARCA start, and had help from Cup Series driver David Ragan. After running the Sprint Showdown on Saturday night in Charlotte, Ragan boarded a plane and flew to Toledo to spot for Buescher.
Also a graduate of Legends cars, Buescher ran a part time ARCA schedule last season for the Roulo Bros. Racing team. In seven starts, he had one pole, three top five, and six top ten finishes. He is running another partial ARCA schedule this season. And if his last name looks familiar, it should. Buescher is the cousin of current Truck Series driver James Buescher.
From time to time here at TNI we like to point out a few young drivers to keep your eye on. Driver development is certainly in inexact science, but Buescher and Gresham might be two names you will be hearing for many years to come. They are both showing right now that they have the talent to compete with the best.