Chris Buescher systematically worked his Fastenal Ford to the front of the field late in Monday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, with a late charge in overtime coming up just .114 seconds short. The sixth-place finish was Buescher’s third top-10 finish of the season, with the team also picking up two crucial stage points.
“Not a bad run for our Fastenal Ford Mustang and our team,” said Buescher. “Lots of excitement throughout the race at different areas and I obviously wanted to replay the end to do a little bit better. At the end of the day it was a good run for us.”
Buescher rolled off the grid 14th and worked his way up to fifth when the competition caution flag waved at lap 25. The team pitted for fresh tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel getting back on track to restart 11th. As a rainstorm approached, the No. 17 team raced for track position, toggling between 11th and 16th. He was scored 16th when the caution flag waved for weather. The red flag was displayed for nearly an hour as the track dried. Cars returned to the track under caution, where the stage ended. Buescher took the green-white-checkered flag under yellow in 15th.
At the stage break, the No. 17 team pitted for four tires and fuel, but had to come back down pit road after a pit gun mishap. Buescher topped off on fuel and restarted 29th. By lap 67, the team worked their way up to 17th. The driver was scored 11th when the caution flag waved at lap 95. The team pitted under yellow for four tires, fuel and grill tape, restarting 14th with 21 laps to go in the stage. Another caution flag waved at lap 114 for debris. Buescher was running 20th, so the team elected to pit for more tires. After restarting 21st, the driver maneuvered his way through the field on the shootout restart, gaining 12 positions and earning two stage points to finish ninth in stage two.
The Prosper, Texas native elected not to pit at the stage break and led the field to green for the final stage of racing at the superspeedway. Unfortunately, cars on fresher tires had the advantage and Buescher fell back through the field before settling in 16th. At lap 133, the team pitted for fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The driver remained quiet on the radio, except to report that his No. 17 machine was a little loose handling. After restarting 17th, the team coasted for a few more laps until the next caution at lap 141 and made the decision to top off for fuel. With 43 laps to go the team restarted 20th and focused on saving fuel to make it to the end. As the last caution of the race came out with three to go, Buescher restarted third and worked his way into the second position, but a run on the outside lane prevailed and he ultimately ended up taking the checkered flag sixth, in overtime.
Buescher and the No. 17 team return to action next weekend for a double header at Pocono Raceway. Race coverage begins on Saturday, June 27th at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.