Chris Buescher and the Fifth Third Bank team employed a never give up approach in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA to earn a solid eighth-place finish, Buescher’s sixth-straight top-10 in road course racing.
“It was our first bumper car race of the year,” Buescher said after the race. “Our Fifth Third Ford Mustang ended up pretty solid there towards the end, we got a solid top-10 out of it. That’s a big testament to this team and its ‘never give up’ attitude.
Buescher had his work cut out for him starting from the 32nd position, but wasn’t fazed, even earning stage points in stage two on his way to the team’s second top-10 of the season.
“I had to really power through, and we had some issues there that probably came from getting run into … backwards a couple times. But, I’m proud of everybody. That was a good finish for a really hard-fought day.”
The opening stage of 15 laps had a pair of cautions, one on lap two for a spin by teammate Brad Keselowski, and the other at lap 11 as crew chief Scott Graves immediately called the No. 17 to pit road as the caution flew. Buescher was 19th on the ensuing restart and ended the stage in 20th.
Stage two, also 15 laps in distance, was less hectic with no full-course yellows. Buescher ran long on track and ultimately gained the lead for a lap before finishing fifth in the stage. From there, he was solidly inside the top-15 for the remainder of the day working to 11th by lap 43 on a restart.
After the last pit cycle played out with around 10 to go, Buescher got back to 16th on a restart with seven laps remaining before a string of yellow flags occurred, resulting in three-straight NASCAR Overtime restart attempts.
Despite a chaotic ending, Buescher maintained composure and maneuvered to seventh on what was the final restart, going on to finish eighth.
The No. 17 team returns to action next week at Richmond Raceway. Race coverage Sunday is set for 3:30 p.m. on FOX. Radio coverage can be heard on MRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.