When the green flag drops on the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Friday at Richmond International Raceway, it will mark the NASCAR debut of Roush Fenway development driver Chris Buescher.
Buescher will fill in for Roush Fenway's Trevor Bayne, who is undergoing tests for symptoms that are thought to be related to the insect bite he sustained earlier this month, and Bayne will be unable to race the car.
Buescher was in Chicago getting reading for the ARCA Series race in Salem, Ind.
"What an opportunity," said the 18-year old Buescher, who had no intention of such a ceremonious milestone this weekend. "I got the call about 8:30 a.m. Central (time) and they told me to pack up all my things; I thought they were sending me back to Charlotte.
"It's a really big opportunity to run a Nationwide race. We did not have any plans for that this year. I hate this is at Trevor's expense, but you just have to make the most of the opportunity and we'll look to get the No. 16 Ford up front.
"I'm so thankful to Jack Roush and Robbie Reiser, and all of our thoughts and prayers are with Trevor and hoping he gets better. But I am going to do whatever I can to make a good showing here."
Buescher will also make his racing debut at the 3/4-mile Richmond International Speedway, known for racing excitement, but he appears to have a game plan for success.
"Obviously I've watched a lot of races here,'' he said. "It's a really fun track and it looks really hard to pass. (Crew chief) Chris Andrews and (Carl Edwards team crew chief) Mike Beam have both already told me that patience is the key. Keep the fenders on it, keep a clean car and be able to run at the end."
Buescher, who was 11th in this morning's practice session, has his eyes set on a potential top 10 in his Nationwide Series debut.
"Obviously as a race car driver you go out wanting to win," said Buescher. "But really I'd like to log some laps, get some good experience, drive the car up front and bring home a solid top-10 finish and we'll be happy."
Buescher has finished top five in both of his ARCA races this season, including an impressive second-place run earlier this year in Daytona. In addition, he has two career wins, thee poles, eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 17 career starts in the ARCA Series.
He is a development driver for Roush Fenway Racing and runs a limited ARCA Series schedule with the Roulo Bros in the No. 17 Ford. He will do double duty this weekend, competing in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 in the ApplianceZone.com/Jasper Engines and Transmissions/Roulo Bros Ford No. 17 Ford on Sunday.
"It has been crazy," said Buescher. "I'm in a whirl wind, but it has sunk in and we have a little more focus and I think we are going to be good."