Chris Buescher capitalized on stage points Sunday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway, picking up the fourth-most points of any driver in the field en route to a 14th-place finish at his home track.
“It was a great day for us, a really strong day,” Buescher said after the race. “It was really hot. We made a lot of speed and got a lot of stage points and we ran in the top five a lot today. At the end there we tried some strategy to make something happen and we couldn’t keep green flag conditions for more than a couple laps at a time so we bled off all the laps that we needed to do something and I ended up back there with people that were all over the place all day, running into us on straightaways and just shouldn’t have been around that group.”
Buescher maintained an average position of sixth throughout the 400 miles, nearly winning the opening 80-lap stage, and picking up a fifth-place stage two result. His weekend at Texas began by putting down the second-quickest lap of any driver, as he and teammate Brad Keselowski went 2-3 on the grid for Sunday’s race in 100-degree temperatures.
Buescher hovered around the top five for much of the opening stage as a green-flag pit cycle, then immediate yellow, put him 11th at the time of the first caution at lap 41. The track position would flip though, giving Buescher the fourth spot at lap 48. He held on to the top five position through the end of the segment, driving to a P2 finish at lap 80.
After staying out in the stage break, he restarted second for stage two, and was fifth by the time the caution flew again at lap 110. The timing was ideal, though, as the No. 17 needed a stop for service. He lined up 10th on the ensuing restart, and powered his way back to fifth in the long, green-flag run to the end of stage two at lap 165.
He began the final segment from fifth, and was seventh with 25 to go, when the first of three cautions flew to end it. He pitted for right-side tires, which put him 17th on the restart with 20 to go. The race saw two more restarts in the closing 13 laps, but Buescher got held up in a group of non-playoff cars to finish 14th.
He now sits third in the playoff standings entering race two of the Round of 12 next week.
Talladega Superspeedway hosts race two in the Round of 12 of the NASCAR Playoffs next weekend. Race coverage Sunday is set for 2 p.m. ET on NBC, with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.