Both JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet drivers brought home top-11 finishes on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Chris Buescher, making his sixth career start for the team this season, brought home his best finish since joining the team this last offseason to pilot a second entry. AJ Allmendinger, who started the STP 500 in 30th, finished sixth on Sunday.
Buescher, like his teammate, had work to do once the green flag dropped. The No. 37 BUSH’s Beans Chevrolet started the afternoon in 33rd and sat 11th when the checkered flag waved.
When stage one ended, Buescher sat 23rd on the race leaderboard. Prior to its conclusion, with eight laps remaining until its end, they used strategy that would help them get to the front of the field later. When the rest of the field pitted at the end of stage one, it allowed Buescher and the team to stay out and earn valuable track position.
Stage two of the STP 500 went clean and green all the way through. Buescher sat 18th on the chart when this stage ended.
Stage three, that saw a total of nine cautions, Buescher stayed clean and raced his way up the race leaderboard. He would then take his No. 37 Chevrolet to an 11th-place finish – marking his best with JTG Daugherty this year.
He goes into his home track at Texas on Sunday sitting 27th in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points. Before the STP 500 on Sunday, Buescher sat 32nd in points.
Buescher’s teammate AJ Allmendinger overcame some struggles throughout the day as well. Allmendinger’s journey started in the 30th starting position and never looked back from there.
When stage one concluded at lap 130, Allmendinger sat 18th on the race leaderboard. When the second stage of the race ended at lap 260, the California native sat 13th on the board – just shy of scoring extra driver points.
The third and final stage of the STP 500 is where things got challenging. On lap 290, 30 laps into the final stage, Allmendinger tangled with Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne, Daniel Suarez, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones on the frontstretch. But that’s not all. On lap 419, with 81 laps remaining, Allmendinger tangled with Kahne, Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin, Ty Dillon, Aric Almirola and Dale Earnhardt Jr in turn three. Despite this, Allmendinger continued with his day.
From there on, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran finished out the day in the sixth position.
“At first I was like 'No' (on having a car capable of winning) and then the middle of the race I was like, 'Heck yeah,' and then the last third of the race 'No, not really' and right at the end I was like ‘Oh heck yeah’ again,” Allmendinger said after the race. “This is the best we’ve ever been here on a long run. I kept hating to see all those yellows (cautions). I knew we needed about 100-120 green flag laps there because the car was so fast on long runs. I wish we would have had it there at the end. Randall Burnett (crew chief) probably one of the best races he has called when it comes to adjustments. Just to work together like that, we both have to work on each other. We are both animated and we kind of feed off each other. When we have a weekend like this where we learn and are able to stay calm and keep building our race cars, the way we are, we will be okay.”
Allmendinger goes into this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway sitting 26th in points. Before Martinsville on Sunday, you’d have to go all the way down to the 30th spot to find Allmendinger in the points standings.