By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
Chris Buescher came within laps of trapping many a lap down on his way to a top-10 finish at Kansas Speedway.
During a round of green flag pit stops in the Buschy McBusch Race 400, Buescher moved into the lead. The No. 17 Auto Tempest Ford Mustang was among the last of the lead lap cars to hit pit road. During Buescher’s stint in the lead, an uncontrolled tire rolled into the ball field from Tyler Reddick’s team.
Crew chief Luke Lambert betted on a caution that didn’t come while Buescher was on track. On lap 226, the Roush Fenway Racing driver finally ducked onto pit road. Five laps later, NASCAR Cup Series officials finally threw the caution flag. Buescher’s pit stop marked the end of the green flag pit cycle, nearly 20 laps after the tire rolled into the ball field. Had the caution flown sooner, several drivers could have been trapped a lap down.
Three successive cautions involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Cindric, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Preece, and Christopher Bell allowed Buescher to climb up through the running order. On the final restart, he moved back inside the top-10. In the mad scramble on the two-lap shootout, Buescher avoided the drifting cars of Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney to take the checkered flag in eighth.
“That was a good ending for Auto Tempest Ford Mustang group,” stated Buescher. “It was a fight all day. We worked hard at it and everybody did a great job to get us home with a top-10. It is a respectable finish from where we started. We kept working on it and getting better.
“It is a fun racetrack. Kansas is always fun being able to move around and have options. The late race restarts were pretty wild. We came out in once piece and the car is clean and I am just glad to be able to get Auto Tempest their first top-10 in NASCAR.”
Buescher started the race at the 1.5-mile track outside the top-15 due to the metric qualifying formula. At the end of both Stages, the 28-year-old was outside of the top-10.
The eighth-place finish is the second top-10 for Buescher this season and 22nd of his Cup Series career. The 13 laps that the Prosper, TX native led were the first since he was out front at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this season.
The top-10 also moved Buescher from 16th in the points standings to 15th. He is eight points above the playoff cutoff, held by Matt DiBenedetto. Buescher is 223-points behind leader Hamlin.
Feature Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo