As he sat on a stage inside the Kansas Speedway media center Friday, Chris Buescher described his personality as quiet and perhaps a little under the radar. He isn't flashy and doesn't drive with the intent to "put on a show," he explained.
And in many ways, those personality traits have mirrored his professional success during the 2015 season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Buescher has won twice in 29 starts, and eight other drivers have either matched or surpassed that total. But with only four races remaining on the schedule — starting with the Kansas Lottery 300 at 3 p.m. Saturday at Kansas Speedway — Buescher has quietly opened a 26-point lead in the driver points standings.
"I'm here to win races and win this championship," he said. "If we're under the radar and doing it, that's definitely not bothering me."
It's a model of consistency that has him sitting atop the standings in mid-October. While he spoke of disappointment in not having more victories this season, Buescher has finished in the top-10 in 19 of the 29 starts, and he has finished in the top-five 11 times.
In other words, even absent a big win total, whatever Buescher is doing has been working. And there are no plans to change it this weekend.
"We've been aggressive up to this point, and we know that's how we've gotten these points," Buescher said. "We want to make sure we don't go on defense right now. We're not to the point where we're ready to do that. We've got four more races coming up, (and) 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."
Buescher didn't say exactly where Kansas Speedway fit into the equation, though his previous two finishes here haven't been promising. He was 16th in 2013 and 28th in 2014 — even though he led for 20 laps in the latter race.
"If you look at the finish, no, it's not one of our best tracks, but we led a lot of laps here last year and were extremely fast all weekend," Buescher said. "I feel as good about this place as any trying to get another win this year."
It would do a lot for his championship hopes. Entering Saturday's race, Buescher leads second-place Chase Elliott by 26 points with Regan Smith 34 points back and Ty Dillon 38 points back.
Too close for comfort?
"Everybody keeps using the word comfortable for the points battle. There's no comfort in it right now," Buescher said. "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. We're going to keep doing what we've been doing.”