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Buescher Extends Top 10 Streak at Richmond


Chirs Buescher pre-race at Richmond. (Photo: Daniel Rankin | The Podium Finish)

RICHMOND, Va. — Although Ford has not had race-winning speed yet in 2024, Chris Buescher has been doing the next best thing by being consistent and rattling off top 10s.

Coming into the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway, Buescher had been riding a three-race top-10 streak, including a runner-up finish at Phoenix. Buescher’s odds to keep the streak going were also very strong, as he won at Richmond last July.

Buescher rolled off in 14th when the race went green on Sunday night.

The race started off with a bit of an unknown. The rain allowed NASCAR to try something for the first time at Richmond Raceway, wet weather tires.

All cars were required to start the race on wet weather tires and leave them on until NASCAR said otherwise.

Buescher made it work on the wet weather tires, finding grip in the top and middle lanes to move up to 12th by the end of Lap 1. Buescher continued working his way up through the running order, making his way up to ninth when, on Lap 30. a competition caution came out.


Chris Buescher during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. (Photo: Daniel Rankin | The Podium Finish)

NASCAR deemed the track dry enough to put slick tires back on, so under caution, all of the drivers came down pit road and swapped out the wet weather tires for slicks. NASCAR also mandated that these pit stops be non-competitive since pit road was not completely dry yet. As the drivers completed their pit stops, everyone held the positions that they entered pit road in.

“It was less of a circus than I expected, but I’m not a real big fan,” Buescher said regarding the use of the wet weather tires.

Buescher restarted in ninth when the race went back green on Lap 49. This left just 22 laps remaining in Stage 1.

Unlike the opening start to the race, Buescher began losing positions this time around. He fell to 13th when on Lap 64, a caution for Daniel Suarez came out after contact with Josh Berry while racing ninth. This yellow flag ended Stage 1 and Buescher finished in 12th place.

Everyone came down pit road on Lap 74 for four tires and fuel and the race went back green on Lap 80.

Stage 2 had a very long green flag run, which allowed for differing pit strategies. Two approaches played out, splitting the stage in half or splitting it in thirds.

Buescher made his pit stop on Lap 124, coming in with Martin Truex Jr., the dominant car of the race.


Chris Buescher racing at Richmond Raceway. (Photo: Daniel Rankin | The Podium Finish)

On Lap 170, with the strategies still cycling through, Buescher was running in fifth when a questionable caution came out after Kyle Busch brushed the wall in Turn 1. The yellow flag hurt a handful of the front runners, including Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, Alex Bowman and Todd Gilliland.

The caution did help Buescher though, as he was able to come down pit road under caution and on the Lap 178 restart, found himself still in fifth place.

The remainder of Stage 2 went green and Buescher finished the stage in seventh.

Buescher remained inside of the top 10 when the third and final stage went green on Lap 241, restarting in ninth.

Another long green flag run ensued after the restart. Buescher had lost a few positions during the run and was running outside the top 10, with an 11th-place finish looking more and more probable. That was until, with two laps to go, Wallace got into Larson from behind, sending the No. 5 car around and the race into NASCAR overtime.

All of the lead lap cars went down pit road for four tires and fuel for overtime. Buescher’s No. 17 team had a solid pit stop, gaining two positions and lining up to restart in ninth.

The overtime went fairly smooth for Buescher. While the leaders battled each other hard, Buescher slid behind Berry momentarily to fall to tenth but got back by and beat Tyler Reddick to the line to finish in the ninth position as Denny Hamlin won the race.


Buescher (17) racing during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. (Photo: Daniel Rankin | The Podium Finish)

Although the ninth-place finish extended Buescher’s top-10 streak to four races, he was left a little disappointed with the run after winning at Richmond last season.

“That’s certainly not what we were hoping for,” Buescher said after the race. “I was really excited coming back here. We had a good day, but nothing terrific.”

“We’ll definitely dive into it and try to figure out what changed and see where we might be able to get better for the next go-round,” Buescher shared.

Buescher and his No. 17 RFK Racing team will head to Martinsville Speedway for the Cook Out 400 on Sunday, April 7 for race eight of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

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