After working his way up to 11th in the second stage of racing, Chris Buescher and the No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford team finished 20th on Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway after a plethora of restarts during the races’ final laps.
Buescher rolled off the grid 13th, but slid back to 15th in the first 25 laps after battling a tight handling Ford Mustang. At the competition caution, the team elected to pit for an air pressure adjustment, fuel and tires. After restarting 20th at Lap 30, Buescher got to work and gained two positions while running top-two lap times. At lap 65, the driver was running 17th when he reported that the balance in the car was getting better. Running out of laps in the first stage to make more progress, Buescher took the green-white checkered 17th.
The Prosper, Texas native elected to pit under the stage break at lap 83 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. After restarting 15th, the driver reported that his No. 17 Ford was tight handling on entry and getting worse. At Lap 148, the team made a scheduled green flag pit stop for four tires and fuel. Soon after getting back on track, a caution flag waved at lap 153. The No. 17 team stayed out on track during the quickie caution and earned two positions on the restart for a two-lap shootout to finish stage two in 18th.
Buescher and the team stayed out at the stage break and restarted the final stage in 14th with 100 laps to go. The driver held steady track position, toggling between 13th and 14th with reports of a loose handling car in turns one and two. When it came time for a green flag pit stop at Lap 219, Buescher was up to 11th before heading to pit road. After a standard stop for four tires and fuel, the driver got back on track and was one lap down. Fortunately, a caution flag at Lap 228 for debris resulted in the team taking a wave around and getting back on the lead lap. Buescher restarted 20th at lap 237, but a handful of cautions towards the end of the race helped him gain enough track position to restart 16th with 13 to go. Another caution flag waved with eight laps to go. Running 17th, the team stayed out under caution and restarted in the same position. After a two-lap shootout in the bluegrass state, Buescher ultimately took the checkered flag 20th.
Buescher and the No. 17 team return to action Wednesday, July 15 for the NASCAR All-Star open race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Race coverage begins at 7 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1, MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.