After a promising start and another stage point collected with a 10th-place finish in the second stage of Sunday’s 500-lap race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Chris Buescher and the No. 17 SUNNYD team’s bid at a strong finish came to a halt when the No. 17 Ford contacted the wall and cut a tire midway through the event, ultimately resulting in a 23rd- place finish.
Buescher rolled off the grid at the .533-mile oval in 19th battling a tight handling condition. The No. 17 team made their first trip down pit road with the competition caution at lap 20 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The team had to revisit pit road to switch out a transponder at lap 25 and got back on track for the restart in 25th. Buescher toggled between 25th and 29th until the next competition caution at Lap 60. The SUNNYD team made an air pressure adjustment at the caution and restarted 27th, which is where Buescher took the green-white checkered flag in stage one.
The Prosper, Texas native reported that his Ford was handling tight. After pitting for tires, fuel, grill tape and an air pressure adjustment the team restarted 24th for the second stage at lap 136. Buescher maintained track position, working his way up to 22nd until a caution flag waved at Lap 199. Still reporting a tight handling Ford, Buescher also said his car was improving as the team pitted for an air pressure adjustment along with more tires and fuel. The adjustments at the caution paid off as the team restarted 18th. Strategy played out after a couple more cautions helped Buescher work his way up to 15th. At lap 229, the driver narrowly avoided a huge wreck that red flagged the track for about 12 minutes. The team elected to stay out, restarting 12th with 15 to go in the stage. Another caution flag waved just a few laps later, but Buescher and the No. 17 team stayed out to gain track position. When the green-white checkered flag waved for stage two, the SUNNYD team crossed the line 10th, earning one stage point.
Buescher reported that his No. 17 machine was still handling tight, so the team pitted at the stage break for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The driver got to work, restarting 20th, but then hit the wall twice at Lap 265 to bring out the caution. The team pitted twice during the caution to assess the damage and got back on track, 28th and four laps down. Unfortunately, the damage was too much to escape as the No. 17 team finished 23rd, four laps down.
Buescher and the No. 17 team return to action next Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Race coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.