After fighting his way through multiple incidents in NASCAR’s return to on-track action, Chris Buescher took the checkered flag 32nd in his Fastenal Ford Mustang.
“I was excited to get back to racing after a long time off,” Buescher said. “We started off just working on the racecar aggressively and trying to get it to turn better.”
Sunday’s 400-mile race at Darlington Raceway kicked off NASCAR’s return to racing after the COVID-19 pandemic put the series in an unexpected hiatus. Buescher rolled off the grid 24th and drove his way up to 18th before settling back into the 25th position. By the end of the first stage, the driver was fighting hard to stay on the lead lap when the No. 48 car ran into the back of his bumper. The Fastenal Ford sustained moderate damage to the right side, but pitted at the stage break to assess and fix the damage.
Buescher restarted for stage two 27th reporting a tight car with no front turn. After finding some clean air, he did his best to shuffle his way up through the field. The team worked hard to free up the car during the first two cautions of the stage and had some success around Lap 155. Buescher reported that his car was ‘the best it’s been all day’ as the team restarted 19th at Lap 160. Unfortunately, the car lost speed, taking the green-white-checkered in 26th.
The No. 17 team got to work for the final stage of racing. They continued to work on a tight Ford through the first caution, but hit a setback after getting hit from behind by the No. 95 car. Buescher took the heavily damaged No. 17 Ford down pit road for major repairs, but the damage was too much to come back from. The team ultimately finished the race 32nd and six laps down.
“I got wrecked twice today, which was very unusual and very frustrating,” Buescher explained. “It pretty much ruined any chance we had at having a good finish today. But we’re making good steps, good progress on the Fastenal Ford and getting it going in the right direction. It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
The No. 17 team heads back to Darlington Raceway on Wednesday, May 20 for 500 miles of racing under the lights. Tune into Wednesday night’s race at 7:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and MRN.