By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
It has been a very consistent year for Chris Buescher and Sunday’s top-10 was the best part of the 2022 regular season, so far.
Buescher, who earned a victory in Duel No. 2 at Daytona, has had a consistent year inside the top-15 so far. Four races in and only one DNF can’t be viewed as a bad start to the season but the No. 17 IT Savvy Ford Mustang snuck into the top-10 for the first time this season and earned a small win for RFK Racing.
“That was a really solid day,” said Buescher. “Phoenix is self-admittedly not been my best track, probably one of my worst. To have a day where we come out of here with a top-10 is a small win. I want to be better but definitely a strong Phoenix for us. I am proud of everyone in this group. It was a tough weekend again with just a 150minute practice and not much time to work on it but we were able to dial it in and be competitive in the race. I think we learned some good stuff for our short-track program and we have a lot of those coming up shortly.”
After starting 26th, the second-worst start of the season so far for the No. 17, Buescher kept his No. 17 clean and out of trouble. Limiting mistakes was a big thing for them as many around him faced issues on pit road. Buescher had a penalty-free day on pit road. Buescher sat 17th when the caution flag was displayed for Erik Jones spinning with 27 laps to go and made it up to 15th by the time the caution flag was displayed for the final time of the day.
He restarted from 16th on the final restart, looking like it was going to be another top-15 finish for the No. 17 team. Sitting in 13th on the last lap, Buescher made the move as Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon made contact in front of him, edging Chase Elliott, Aric Almirola, and Denny Hamlin at the line for 10th.
As the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Buescher sits 21st in NASCAR Cup Series points, 51-points behind points leader Joey Logano. Throw the book out for Atlanta Motor Speedway as the track has undergone a complete overhaul during the off-season. Buescher and his team will look to continue off their momentum from Phoenix as they chase RFK Racing’s first victory since 2017.