Prosper may have been a lot smaller two decades ago, but it was still home to a future NASCAR driver.
Chris Buescher is representing the city as a second-year driver in the Monster Energy series. He impressed as a rookie, picking up his first career win in the series and qualifying for NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, otherwise known as the Chase.
Buescher has climbed up the ranks quickly in his racing career. The 24-year-old was the ARCA rookie of the year in 2011 and won their championship in 2012. After that, he joined the XFINITY Series in 2014 and was series champion the following year.
He will drive the No. 37 Chevrolet this season as part of JTG Daugherty racing and has big short term goals and beyond. Still, Texas remains the place where it all started.
What does it mean to be able to represent Prosper as a professional driver?
“I think it’s pretty rare coming from Texas in general, and Prosper being such a small town growing up. It was something a lot of people at school didn’t understand. Missing school on Fridays to go to the racetrack was kind of frowned upon. It was not exactly what was going on. Football seems to be so dominant in Texas. It was cool to grow up out there, to be away from the city and the busyness of it. To be a kid and now leaving there and still calling Prosper home. It’s nice to have support and a lot of fans from Prosper just because of that.”
What do you miss most about Texas?
“Just the space. Everything is spread out there. Everywhere else we go, until you get into Kansas or anything, you feel like you’re right on top of everybody. I miss that about being out there.”
Do you miss Whataburger?
“It’s not really on the nutrition plan, but we try to make one trip out each time we’re in Texas. Everybody that goes to the West Coast has to run at In-and-Out, I know that’s in Texas now. Maybe I’m biased, but I don’t think it compares to the Whataburgers out there.”
How often do you get to come back?
“[Texas Motor Speedway] is about it. I’ll come out to Texas during Christmas. Get to see family and friends and catch up out there. I usually spend a few days out there and unwind. It’s always cold out by then. Not the most pleasant weather to go out and do a whole lot, but it is neat to be able to come out and unwind during a short offseason.”
Have you had success at Texas Motor Speedway?
“On all the other surfaces other than the big track, yes. The big track hasn’t been all that good to me, but they are redoing it with a new surface going in. I’m really excited about the changes they’re doing there. I think they can really help us coming back next year.”
You’re becoming teammates with AJ Allmendinger and now driving a Chevrolet full-time. What is that transition like?
“It’s been pretty seamless. AJ has been a lot of fun to be around. He’s going to be a really good teammate and definitely someone I can learn a lot from as we go through this first handful of races. We’ve got to get in a rhythm and get to know everyone on the team as well as humanly possible. Then we’ll go out there and try to win some races and get into the playoffs. That would be a successful season for us.”
You’ve climbed up the ranks really quickly. How huge was getting your first win at Pocono last year?
“That was big. To be able to do that my rookie season was special, and to be part of the playoffs and do everything was really good. It was a huge success of the season. We wish we could have had a few more races go that way. It really changed our reason a lot. To be able to make the playoffs as a rookie, to make the chase is pretty special. We were able to do that. It was nice to get that first win, but now it’s time to get that second and third.”
What’s your favorite Texas memory?
“My best friend and I used to ride 4-wheelers through the creek back home, just goofing off. Just having the space to ride around. If we got in trouble with local law enforcement, they told us we don’t need to be doing this. It was nothing crazy like you have in all these larger towns now. It was a lot of fun. I really loved growing up out there.”
How crazy has Prosper’s growth been as a city?
“It’s huge compared to what it was when I was there. The cotton gin and sonic were the two restaurant choices. There was nothing else. There was no grocery store. There was no Wal-Mart right up the road. There’s a Kroger right in the middle of Prosper that was not there before. Just crazy how many people have come there and how big it’s gotten in the past couple years.”
Does it feel like the growth of your career is connected to the growth of Prosper?
“I don’t know if I can say that I had anything to do with it, or it with me. It has all grown at the same pace. It’s crazy how things will go together.”