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No changes for Buescher as he prepares for championship stretch run

chris buescher AP

Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 will be a good news-bad news situation for Chris Buescher.

The good news is it will end a string of 16 straight Xfinity Series races without a weekend off.

The bad news is Buescher is still in the midst of a tight battle for the Xfinity championship.

Buescher leads defending series champ Chase Elliott by 26 points, has a 34-point lead on Regan Smith and leads Ty Dillon by 38 points.

“Everybody keeps using the word, ‘comfortable’ for the points battle,” Buescher said Friday at Kansas Speedway. “There’s no comfort in it right now. I mean, 26 points is nice to have some gap, but it’s not very much when you look at the grand scheme of things and how many points can be gained or lost in a race weekend.”

Now is not the time to change anything in the remaining races on the schedule, Buescher said.

“We’ve been aggressive up to this point and we know that’s how we’ve gotten these points, and we want to make sure we don’t go on defense right now,” he said. “We’re not to the point where we’re ready to do that. We’ve got four more races coming up – three of the tracks I feel extremely good about and one that I feel decent about. I think we’re in good shape, we’re just not getting comfortable.

If Buescher has a slight regret heading into Saturday’s race, it’s that despite the consistency he and the No. 60 Ford Mustang have shown, he has won only twice.

“I guess it was nice to get the Iowa and Dover wins,” he said. “We’ve been in contention to win a couple races since then, and it’s a little frustrating that we haven’t been able to wrap more up.

“But at the same time when you look through the Xfinity regulars, it’s been a tough season on the regulars. We haven’t been able to get a whole lot of wins between all of us. But at the same time, we’re one of only two of the regulars that have been able to get more than one win this year.”

While there has been talk whether Buescher might move to the Sprint Cup level in 2016 (team owner Jack Roush said Buescher was ready for the move), he’s not sure if it will happen.

“I don’t know that I’m fully prepared right now,” he said. “This is a sport where you see way too many people get rushed up into the next level and aren’t ready to perform at that level.

“Somebody else may have pushed them to it, they may have thought they were ready, and now you don’t hear much from them anymore. It’s unfortunate because there are people that are extremely good at doing what we do and they just haven’t had the proper seat time to be able to move up to the next level.”

But if he does make the jump to Cup, Buescher takes it with a grain of salt: “If that’s what 2016 brings, then I think I’ll be ready for it.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski