Chris Buescher and the No. 17 team won the second stage, led a handful of laps and overcame a pit road mishap to earn an eighth-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It was a really strong day,” Buescher said after the race. “Our Fastenal Mustang was really good. We got hit on pit road and definitely took a decent amount out of us, so I’m upset about that, but at the end of the day it was a good recovery. We kept digging back and it’s cool to have this camo paint scheme up front for a lot of the day, but I want to do more.”
It took three days for the Cup Series cars to hit the track as rain and mist prevented that on Saturday, and eventually Sunday. The inclement weather pushed the start to 3 p.m. ET Monday, with Buescher rolling off the grid 11th in the Fastenal Ford Mustang.
A mostly uneventful stage one – outside of a competition caution at lap 35 and one additional yellow – had Buescher in 15th by the stage end at lap 100. Buescher began stage two just inside the top-15, and worked his way inside the top-10 by lap 155 when the red flag was displayed for mist, and eventual rain.
Following a brief delay, Buescher restarted ninth at lap 163, then over the course of the final 37 laps in the stage drove his way to the lead, officially taking it at lap 192. He held on to the point for the final laps of the segment and won stage two with a positive outlook on the final half of the race.
But, under a yellow flag at lap 231 when Buescher took the No. 17 to pit road, he was hit by the No. 8 leaving his pit stall, ultimately resulting in damage that needed multiple checks on pit road. He restarted 24th on the ensuing restart, and from there had to dig out of a hole.
After finishing stage three in 22nd, Buescher did just that, methodically working his way back inside the top-20 by lap 360, as five yellows were displayed in the final 50 laps of the race. Buescher was 10th on the final restart of the race at lap 379, and maintained the position to cross the line eighth, his sixth top-10 of the season.
The NASCAR Cup Series schedule heads to WWT Raceway this weekend for Sunday afternoon action in Illinois. Race coverage is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, with radio coverage on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.