Rookie Chris Buescher went 38 laps on his last tank of fuel to win the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 Saturday.
Buescher ran inside the top-five all afternoon and stayed in hunt for the victory, as the other leaders came in for fuel just after pitting for four tires on a lap 52 caution. The Roush-Fenway Racing (RFR) driver stayed out and still showed the speed after being sporty in both practices on Friday. He had a 20 second lead on Jeff Green with until Green’s throttle stuck and his No. 14 car went straight into a tire barrier to bring out a caution on lap 72.
The second-annual race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course appeared to be a four-car race with Buescher, Brian Scott, Alex Tagliani and Sam Hornish, Jr.
Scott was impressive early by grabbing the lead on the first lap and then leading the first 32 laps.
Tagliani, Hornish and Buescher weren’t far behind Scott, as all four cars were within two seconds of each other. Hornish appeared to have a fast car, but the Ohio driver missed a shift, forcing the No. 54 car to have engine trouble and go behind the wall. After that, it appeared to be Brian Scott’s race to lose, but there were several drivers on different fuel strategies scattered throughout the field. Scott came home third after leading the most laps with 39.
Tagliani showed some muscle all afternoon by running in the top five, but never led a lap and wheeled the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford to a fifth-place finish. It was an important run as Hornish and the No. 54 team finished 30th. After Mid-Ohio, the No. 22 team now leads the No. 54 team by 21 points in the owner standings, unofficially.
Regan Smith trimmed a few points off Chase Elliott’s lead with a runner-up finish. Elliott finished fourth and maintains a 10-point lead on his JR Motorsports teammate. Ty Dillon had a few issues on the day and came home 19th and now sits 28 points behind Elliott.
Buescher became the third rookie to win on the NNS season and the fifth first-time winner in 2014.
Some notables in the top 10: Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) teammates Justin Marks and Dylan Kwasniewski finished sixth and eighth respectively, and Trevor Bayne came home ninth after an eventful Watkins Glen race last weekend. Dakoda Armstrong recorded his best career NNS finish with a 10th-place showing.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series visits the half-mile, high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway Friday for the Food City 300. The race has been extended an extra 50 laps for the 2014 race.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 Top 10
- #60 Chris Buescher
- #7 Regan Smith
- #2 Brian Scott
- #9 Chase Elliott
- #22 Alex Tagliani
- #31 Justin Marks
- #11 Elliott Sadler
- #42 Dylan Kwasniewski
- #6 Trevor Bayne
- #43 Dakoda Armstrong