Chris Buescher tallies best finish of 2017 in Michigan

Logan Whitton/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROOKLYN, Mich. — It was an up-and-down day for Chris Buescher and his No. 37 JTG Daugherty Racing team at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). But in the end, the team managed their best result of 2017.

In the midst of his first season with the organization, Buescher arrived for the year’s second race at MIS amid an inconsistent run that proved equal parts high and low. The Prosper, Texas native had two top 10s and four finishes inside of the top 16 in the previous six races, but the other two runs ended in finishes of 25th and 28th.

Early on it appeared Buescher’s run in the Irish Hills would end poorly. The 24-year-old was forced to pit road with a flat tire on Lap 25, costing him track position and altering his pit strategy even as he rejoined the lead lap with the help of the caution to end Stage 1.

But Buescher battled on, rising to contend for a spot in the top 20 through the midway point of the race. Buescher was set back again when he ran over a piece of debris, tearing a small hole into the nose of his No. 37 machine, but a caution on lap 140 allowed Buescher to pit for repairs.

That stop would also set Buescher up for a strategy call that changed the outcome of his day.

When the green-flag flew on lap 147, Buescher was one of 10 drivers to settle in and try to conserve fuel and tires. As the run stretched on, Buescher rose through the field – gaining positions as his competitors pitted.

Buescher rose into the top 10 let, and just when he was about to have to pit under green-flag conditions, the caution flag flew on Lap 187.

From there, it was game on.

After stretching fuel until pit road opened, Buescher came to pit road for four tires and fuel. Buescher emerged in 13th and rose into the top 10 on the ensuing green-flag run.

Another late caution on Lap 197 forced the field into NASCAR Overtime. Buescher took advantage, rising to sixth on the final two-lap sprint.

“Wild,” Buescher said of his day. “We had a tire go down early and put us off sequence early on and this team did a good job today.  They played the strategy right and worked hard.

“We had to fix the car. We had a hole in the nose at one point from debris through one of the crashes.  Fought hard all day long, to be able to get to here right now, that is a really cool finish.  Really proud of this team.”

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