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Chris Buescher Looks to Rally at WWTR

Chris Buescher starts 26th in the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. – As frustrating as May was for Chris Buescher, he and the No. 17 team have had a lot of little successes to build upon.

Between a Darlington race he could have easily won, and a Kansas race he briefly believed he won, entering the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway without a playoff spot in his back pocket is a frustration that is hard to let go of.

Despite the close calls, May was very good to RFK Racing as a whole. Team co-owner Brad Keselowski snapped a three-year winless drought at Darlington Raceway, passing Buescher for the win.

The team has a collective five top-two finishes in the last six races, including Buescher’s .001-seconds loss to Kyle Larson at Kansas Speedway.

“We’ve definitely improved,” Buescher said. “We just haven’t closed the deal on a lot of it unfortunately, which is good and bad. The stats are still there even with us feeling like we’re not getting the finishes that we need. So it could be a lot better yet. The bad is we have work to do to clean some of that up. We’ve got really good speed at very different racetracks across the board.”

Chris Buescher finished 13th in last year’s running at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Photo: Josh James | The Podium Finish)

The frustration continued on Saturday when practice and qualifying did not go according to plan for the No. 17 Travel Centers of America Ford. Buescher posted the 23rd fastest lap in practice and will roll off from the outside of Row 13 on Sunday.

Buescher started 27th in last year’s race but managed to get up to 13th at the end of 243 laps.

With World Wide Technology Raceway being a tough track to pass on, Buescher knows tomorrow’s 300 miles will be a challenge.

“Qualifying did not go very well at all,” Buescher said. “That’ll be a bummer where we’re starting tomorrow. We’re definitely on the up-and-up right now.”

Sunday’s race will be the third annual Enjoy Illinois 300, but only Buescher’s second start at the 1.25-mile track.

Buescher tested positive for Covid-19 the week leading up to the 2022 running, giving up the seat to Zane Smith who went on to finish 17th in the race.

With only half as many starts at the track as most of the top contenders, Buescher is not viewing this as a disadvantage.

“I’ve watched enough video, studied enough. Seat time is seat time,” Buescher said. “There’s a lot of drivers that weren’t here two years ago. Part of me says we’ve got less laps, but we’ve still been good. Still in the hunt for it and what we’ve got to work on. I’m pretty confident with what we’ve got coming down here. I think we’re going to be okay.”

Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 takes the green flag at 3:30 P.M. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Harry Loomis is a 23-year old co-managing editor of The Podium Finish. He joined TPF in September 2023, having previously written for his own racing outlet. He graduated from Missouri Western State University in May 2023, earning his degree in Convergent Journalism. At Missouri Western, Loomis became the Sports Director of Griffon Media, becoming a trusted member of the student newspaper and weekly newscasts. A passionate race fan since age six, Loomis is originally from St. Charles, MO, and is a big NHL and MLB fan.

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