Buescher moves up to Cup

Reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champ Chris Buescher will move up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to drive for Front Row Motorsports in 2016, Roush Fenway Racing announced Thursday, as part of an enhanced technical alliance between the two teams.

Buescher, who locked up his first NASCAR national series title at Homestead-Miami Speedway last month, will drive the No. 34 Ford Fusion, with the team receiving full engineering and pit support from Roush Fenway.

"We are thrilled to announce this alliance," Roush Fenway President Steve Newmark said. "Not only will it foster increased communication within the Ford camp, it will allow our newest champion Chris Buescher to continue to hone his skills with substantial seat time behind the wheel in the Sprint Cup Series in top-grade equipment.

"We look forward to working more closely with Front Row on many levels and we believe it is a relationship that will be mutually beneficial for both parties."

Buescher explained to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" what a relief it was to have his 2016 plans set.

"It's definitely exciting for it to come together here right now," Buescher said. "I think before I had a lot of things circulating, a lot of rumors. Stuff that I didn't really know yet. Really no one knew, but it's finally played out. … Even though it has been a quick turnaround time, it's very stressful not knowing what you are doing the next year when you are sitting here just trying to figure out where you are going to be racing at and how often. So this is very relieving news and very exciting news."

The 23-year-old is also looking forward to the challenges of moving up the national series ladder.

"There's always challenges when you move and that will remain the same," Buescher told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "You see it with anybody moving up to Cup, and I don't care what ride it's in. There's going to be a learning curve that's going to have to take place. It won't be easy, but it will be fun, it will interesting and I'm excited to learn with a new group."

Scott Graves will be Buescher's crew chief in the No. 34, keeping the XFINITY Series winning crew chief and driver pair together, sources confirmed for NASCAR.com. That part of the deal is not finalized yet. Graves was crew chief for Roush driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. when he moved up to Sprint Cup in 2013.

Texas native Buescher made six Sprint Cup starts in 2015 in the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, with a best finish of 20th at Auto Club Speedway. He never ranked lower than third in the driver championship standings.

"We've grown a lot and accomplished a lot as an organization in our six years of full-time Sprint Cup racing, and I'm proud of our progress," Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins said. "We're ready for the next step, and this partnership with Roush Fenway Racing is going to take us there. Chris Buescher is a champion, and he's a driver that we've worked with already and have great respect for, so he's the perfect guy to bring into our line-up."

For his part, Buescher is eager to come in and help the team continue to build.

"It is a new team," Buescher told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It is a smaller team but it is a team that is still building. It's just like anybody that has come into this sport, I don't think you have ever seen somebody come in, especially in the last 10-20 years and just been dominate off the truck. It's going to be a building process, along with myself going over to Front Row and driving, we are going to have the alliance between Roush and them as well. … I think it's a way to build it up."

And the reigning XFINITY Series champion told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio he is hopeful for additional seat time in the XFINITY Series.

"I'd love to run more XFINITY races. I think it’s as important as ever to get as much seat time as possible right now especially with no testing. If everything comes together, I've expressed an interest in it."

Plans for Front Row Motorsports' second Sprint Cup Series entry will be announced at a later date.

NASCAR.com

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