Chris Buescher had one of the best drives of his career Sunday afternoon at Richmond Raceway, driving his Fastenal Ford to the front of the field and just missing out on stealing a victory with a third-place finish.
“We were really close,” Buescher said after the race. “Everyone on our Fastenal Mustang did such a tremendous job overnight because we didn’t know we were in this position yesterday. I didn’t qualify real well, and everyone worked hard and had a fantastic race car today. I think it’s a little easy with this format to feel like third place doesn’t matter, but it’s nice to be close and to keep progressing and getting better as we’ve gotten through the summer.”
Buescher, who had a career-best finish of 15th to date at the track prior to Sunday, clawed his way up from an 18th-place starting position in the 300-lap race.
After a fairly calm opening stage where he finished 18th, Buescher began his charge forward about 40 laps into stage two as he worked his way to 11th at lap 117, showing early signs of long-run speed. From there he hit pit road at lap 125 under green – one of many green-flag stops on the day – and cycled to 10th at lap 155.
He again hit pit road at lap 171 under green as one of the first takers for service and ultimately cycled out to seventh, where he finished the second segment earning stage points. He would fire off eighth for stage three, the longest one of the day, with just two cautions standing between that and the checkered flag.
After both cautions flew within a 10-lap span, Buescher took the final green in sixth, and 20 laps later worked his way into fourth. Two final stops under green-flag conditions took place in the final 100 laps with the No. 17 crew maintaining his third-place position at lap 295, then again at lap 340 as he was the first to hit pit road from the third spot.
Despite a valiant effort to pass the No. 4 car and eventual winner, Buescher came up just short to finish third, his seventh top-10 of the season and second top five.
The No. 17 team has two chances left at a race win to catapult them into the playoffs, with the next opportunity next week at Watkins Glen. Race coverage Sunday is set for 3 p.m. ET on USA, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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