The NASCAR Cup Series made its second trip to the 1.25-mile oval that sits just a stone’s throw from the Gateway Arch Sunday afternoon. For Chris Buescher, it was his first time making laps around the circuit after he was sidelined from last year’s inaugural event due to illness.
“That was a long day – long race,” Buescher said. “There were a lot of cautions and red flags. It really started yesterday as I was in a little bit of a hole after qualifying, and I just didn’t do a good job. I had to dig out of that today.
“We had pretty good speed in our Fastenal Ford Mustang. I was pretty happy with it, and at times, had to move around the track quite a bit. I figured out Gateway really quickly, and not being able to run here last year, I felt a little behind getting going. Definitely found something there at the end and honestly wish it was a 600-mile race because I felt like we could have kept getting better.”
Buescher’s No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang started off Sunday’s 300-mile race from the 27th position. The event was quickly halted by lightning in the area, facing a delay that lasted nearly two hours.
Once drivers climbed back in their machines, the Prosper, Texas, native climbed to the 23rd position to finish the opening stage. From there, it was time for adjustments on pit road.
After starting the second stage from 24th, Buescher was easily able to break into the top 20, and eventually drove to 16th to finish stage two.
The No. 17 crew would service the car heading into the final stage, lining Buescher up 11th. Unfortunately, after a lap 181 restart, the Fastenal Ford would slide back to 20th before a lap 198 caution. This would set Buescher up to make a late charge for 12th in a slew of cautions during the final 41 laps, which included a NASCAR Overtime restart to ultimately end it.
The NASCAR Cup Series schedule heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend for Sunday afternoon action in Sonoma Valley, California. Race coverage is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.