Chris Buescher made it seven-straight top-10s on road courses Sunday at Sonoma, driving the Fifth Third Bank Ford to a fourth-place result for his second-straight top-5 at the track.
“Everybody did a good job, our Fifth Third Bank Mustang had really solid speed,” Buescher said following the race. “It was a methodical race, I thought we were in a good spot there at the end and got a little caught up in the retaliation stuff going on right in front of us and checked us up a good amount. It’s hard to say if we had anything for the 19, we never quite got to him, so I think we still have a little work to do yet, but it was a good job by everybody.”
Outside of a couple of pit cycles, Buescher was inside the top-10 for all of Sunday’s 110-lap action at the 12-turn road course. He picked up stage points in stage one with a seventh-place result, and just missed out on stage two points finishing 11th. Buescher had a solid view on the starting grid, too, with a P7 starting position after making the final round in Saturday’s qualifying session.
In total just two yellow flags flew throughout the day Sunday, as stage breaks no longer warrant cautions on road courses in 2023. Early on, Buescher was ninth just 10 laps in and utilized a strategy to stay on track through the opening laps to pick up those valuable stage points in seventh.
The first yellow came at lap 49 when Buescher was in seventh, a break that brought he and a host of others down pit road. The No. 17 crew gained two spots among the group of cars that pitted, lining him up 14th on the ensuing restart. Despite a valiant effort, Buescher climbed to 11th to end the stage at lap 55.
But, by lap 70, Buescher had driven to the top five, up to fifth. Six laps later, he and teammate Brad Keselowski hit pit road. Buescher was sixth with 25 laps remaining, and worked his way back up to fourth when the final caution was displayed with 19 to go.
Following another fast stop by the No. 17 crew, Buescher made contact with the No. 77 leaving pit road, fortunately resulting in no damage or other issues. He restarted sixth with 15 to go, and ultimately worked his way back to fourth by the checkered flag.
NASCAR takes its lone off week of the year this week, with racing action returning at Nashville Superspeedway on Sunday, June 25.