As the saying goes, sometimes it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. That rang true for Chris Buescher and the No. 17 team Sunday at Darlington earning a 10th-place finish after a battle throughout the 400+-mile race.
“We worked hard today with our Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang to get it better,” Buescher said following the race. “We got rolling pretty good and avoided the last two wrecks. We really wanted to see what we could do with those last 10 green flag laps to see what we could do with it, but just didn’t get that opportunity.
“The way this day started, we’d have taken a 10th if you would have told us we could get there. We still have a little work to do, but it’s such a track position sensitive race again. We were just planted and basically stuck and that’s why the restarts are as chaotic as they are.”
Buescher, who began the day from 27th after qualifying on Saturday, used those late-race restarts and some attrition to keep his nose clean and earn his fifth top-10 of the season. Following opening stages that saw Buescher finish 29th and 28th, the No. 17 began its slow charge forward in the final segment that was littered with five cautions.
Buescher broke into the top-20 on a restart with 92 laps remaining, and just 15 laps later he was scored top-15. One of two green-flag pit cycles separated the final stage as the Fifth Third Ford hit pit road with 47 to go. Then, a yellow with 18 to go was shown with Buescher pitting for the final time.
He fired off 15th on the ensuing restart, and took advantage of a multi-car incident ahead to skirt through to the top-10. The same sequence happened again on a pair of final restarts with Buescher ultimately weaving his way through multiple crashed cars to finish 10th.
NASCAR All-Star weekend is on tap next week at historic North Wilkesboro Speedway. The All-Star Race is set for 8 p.m. ET Sunday night with TV coverage on FS1, and radio coverage across MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.