Chris Buescher Impressed by RFK Racing’s Rebound at Phoenix

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

One week after an early end to his race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Chris Buescher and his RFK Racing team rebounded for a runner-up finish at Phoenix Raceway.

Chris buescher scored a top-five finish in the nascar cup series at phoenix raceway.
#17: Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang and #54: Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, Monster Energy Toyota Camry. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Less than 15 laps after the first round of pit stops at Las Vegas the right front wheel detached from Buescher’s Ford Mustang Dark Horse. That sent the veteran driver into the outside wall, ending his race after 27 laps. NASCAR Cup Series officials suspended jackman Nicholas Patterson and front tire changer Jakob Prall. RFK Racing appealed, deferring the penalty to a later date.

That allowed Buescher’s team to remain intact for the Shriner’s Childrens 500 at Phoenix. His No. 17 Ford didn’t enter the top-10 until the second Stage. A rash of cautions kept Buescher inside the top-10 at the start of the final stage of the 500km race.

Following the final caution for Denny Hamlin’s spin with 97 laps to go, Buescher was among those that pitted for four tires. Slowly, he climbed up the running order, following eventual race winner Christopher Bell. While Bell was in a league of his own, Buescher picked off car after car. In the closing laps the Ford Performance driver took second from Ty Gibbs before taking the checkered flag 5.465 seconds behind Bell, the largest margin of victory in NASCAR’s NextGen era.

“I was really impressed with our Ford Mustang today, that was awesome,” Buescher said. “A heck of a comeback after a rough go the last couple of weeks. We had really fast racecars and I am proud to be able to do that today. I didn’t quite see the 20 there at the end so I know they were lights out. We have some work to do to get to that point.

“What thrills me is we were by no means perfect on balance, so we have a lot of room to make this thing better which is awesome. It tells me we can go compete for that thing. I am proud of everybody and a great bounce back after a rough go last week and did it with the same team here today and it just goes to show that we are going to do these things together, win, lose or draw. That was almost a win today.”

Chris buescher scored a top-five finish in the nascar cup series at phoenix raceway.
#17: Chris Buescher, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang and #38: Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, gener8tor Ford Mustang. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Although he qualified 14th, the difficulty of passing kept the Prosper, TX native outside the top-10 in the first Stage of the 312-lap race. Buescher finished the second Stage in 10th, gaining one additional point.

The runner-up finish was Buescher’s first top-five of the 2024 season. It was also the 31-year-old’s 20th career top-five in the Cup Series.

The top-five finish moved Buescher up from 23rd in the points standings to 16th. He is 65-points behind defending champion and leader Ryan Blaney. Buescher holds the final spot in the NASCAR Playoffs, two points ahead of Erik Jones and Michael McDowell.

Next for Buescher is the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has one victory, three top-five, and four top-10 finishes in 14 starts on the concrete track. The win and three of the four top-10 finishes came in Buescher’s five starts at the track with RFK.

The Food City 500 at Bristol is scheduled for Sunday, March 17, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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