JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — With James Buescher's truck losing power in the first half of the race, his crew made a quick decision: They'd have to come into the pits and replace their carburetor, even if cost them a few laps to the leaders.
The decision left Buescher's crew under pressure to complete a less-than-routine repair that involved removing and reinstalling several small parts — all while wearing gloves to avoid burning their hands on a scalding hot engine.
But they got it done in just a matter of minutes and Buescher did the rest, coming from two laps down to win the NASCAR Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night.
Buescher figured at the time that the long stop would have cost him a shot at the win.
"I didn't know if the carburetor was going to be a fix or not," Buescher said. "I was hoping it was. Luckily it was. From that point on, the goal was to get back on the lead lap and get as many spots as we could. As quick as we were able to get back on the lead lap, the goals changed pretty quickly, knowing how good our truck was."
Crew chief Michael Shelton saluted the skill of his crew — he said he expected to lose three laps to the leaders during the carburetor change, and they only lost two.
"As hot as it is under that hood, and you're pulling some small parts there, with gloves," Shelton said. "It's hard. You've got to slow yourself down and just do your job, and they did it perfectly."
Buescher took the lead from Timothy Peters on the last lap, then held off a charge from Brendan Gaughan to win.
It was Buescher's third career win, with all three coming this season. Buescher previously won at Kansas and Kentucky.
Gaughan finished second after dominating the majority of the race. Peters was third, followed by Matt Crafton and Parker Kligerman.
It was the 200th career start in Trucks for Todd Bodine, making him the only driver with at least 200 starts in all three of NASCAR's national series. Bodine finished 18th.
Buescher and Peters went side-by-side on the final restart with two laps to go, and Buescher took the lead on the last lap. Gaughan surged to second but couldn't catch Buescher.
"He never gives up," Shelton said. "He has the motivation on his own."
Peters leads Ty Dillon by 23 points in the series standings. Dillon finished 12th.