Chris Buescher Homestead Media Availability

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang — DID ANYTHING CHANGE FOR YOU WHEN BLANEY WENT FROM 56 POINTS BACK TO 17 POINTS BACK WHEN NASCAR CHANGED THEIR MIND? “No, I think they already changed the penalty back before I even knew about it in the first place. By the time I got the news it was like, ‘Oh, never mind.’ No, it really doesn’t. We are in a spot where we are within striking distance still from really strong points days but really it is going to be about winning in this round, it typically is. We have to work hard for that and go out and run good all day. If we can go run well in the stages and be up front, that puts us in a position to win the race but if not at least you have acquired points in the meantime. That is the main part of it. I really can’t control what goes on elsewhere.”


DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM YOUR WINS AT MICHIGAN OR RICHMOND THAT CAN GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE FOR THE NEXT TWO RACES? “Just the fact that we have been better for the second half of the year in general is great. Nothing that is really going to carry over from those styles of race tracks but we know what we are capable of as a group and we really have to dig deep and get into that for this race and for next week. There is nothing here that really follows those two styles of tracks, maybe Darlington more than anything, but certainly made some really big gains at Martinsville in the playoffs for us. I don’t feel like we are way off as far as the car goes right now. We are in a smaller tweaking area. We just have to keep doing that. We just didn’t unload as close as we wanted to, but I don’t feel out to lunch.”


WHAT HAPPENED ON PIT ROAD LAST WEEK AND HOW MUCH DID YOU GUYS ADDRESS THAT? “Yeah, Vegas is a slick pit road and we go in knowing that. We thought we had a pretty decent box with a lot of rubber in it beforehand and I guess that gave me a rather false sense of security for our first stop and I ended up all but blowing through the white line. I really just didn’t do a good job on pit road last week. A couple of more times after that trying to back it up, I had to back up an obnoxious amount I felt like in order to get on the marks. That is just my fault. I didn’t catch on quick enough and put us in bad spots throughout the race. Our pit crew did a nice job and tried their best to keep up with me and where I was parking. That was just my fault. I didn’t do a good job there.”


YOU PICKED IT UP A LOT GOING FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING TODAY, WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE TO GET THAT SPEED? “That is outside of my wheelhouse exactly. We just freed up a lot. We got into practice there and we were super tight, especially on our fire-off laps, and really could not finish the corner. We took a pretty large stab at freeing up and certainly got us very close. Still scrubbing the fronts pretty hard through three and four but I at least felt like I was able to pull on the wheel a little and make something happen, so it is a lot better, we just need a little more yet.”


HOW CRAZY DO YOU THINK MARTINSVILLE WILL BE? “We aren’t there yet. Everyone keeps putting me two weeks out and I can’t do it. Since the playoffs started, I have been driving off the hood pins and whatever is immediately out in front of us is where I have been. I used to rag on people for doing that a lot growing up because I felt like they were always the first one to crash, but in this sense, I feel like it is the best way we can take it, one at a time. I am really not that far ahead yet.”


FOR A SHORT TRACK IT HAS APPEARED A BIT LACKLUSTER OF LATE. DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE MORE ROOTING AND GAUGING OR THE DYNAMIC OF THE RACE WILL CHANGE WITH SO MUCH ON THE LINE? “Maybe. It always does, right? It is always in the playoffs and always gets a little dicey there. It is going to have its moments I am sure. Like I said, I really just haven’t gotten that far ahead yet.”


WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE COULD RESTARTS BE IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT BEING BETTER ON A LONGER STINT? “That is why we need to work on that fire-off speed to get it better immediately so that we can make some progress on restarts and be able to move around a little more. This race track is a ton of fun and gives you a ton of options. With that, if you are a little tight or a little loose usually you can find something. We just have to get a little more free to where we can point and find something a little bit better. Again, without sacrificing too much of the long run speed because we know we will have 35 or 45 lap runs tomorrow, so you can’t throw them away, but you just have to be able to find a little bit of fire-off speed. Just another step of what we did for qualifying, really.”


HAVE YOU LEANED ON BRAD FOR PLAYOFF ADVICE THE LAST FEW WEEKS? “It really hasn’t changed a whole lot. It is really a lot of what we have done as an organization since Brad has come over as owner and on the teammate side. Not that we are really going into any differences, it is always just a lot of communication and teamwork between our two groups. We have several opportunities throughout the week where we sit down and go over what we are looking at for the immediate race weekend and what we are looking at going forward. There is obviously advice coming our way and things that we talk about but it is not really any more or any less than it has been throughout the entire last two years really. It is the same stuff that has been able to get us to this point, it is now just about focusing on the last three races, really two as we try to just get to Phoenix. It is the same amount of teamwork and the same conversations that we have been having that have put us in a good spot.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE LOW POINTS OF ROUSH FENWAY TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW AS RFK. DOES THAT JUST CHANGE YOUR WHOLE OUTLOOK ON WHAT IS POSSIBLE GOING FORWARD? “Yeah, I have been a part of RFK for 15 years. I have seen a lot. I have seen a lot of good and a lot of bad. I would say it is really exciting right now to see the positives. Not for myself, selfishly, it is a lot more than that. It is the positivity of individuals we have had there since well before I started and people that have always tried to fire off each new season with a positive outlook and made it three or four weeks into a year and realized that it didn’t change enough and that was not going to be the amount of improvement that we needed. I lived through that and have seen how it can certainly get everybody fired up through an offseason but can bring it back down really quickly if the success is not there. We haven’t had that. That is the best part, seeing everyone really get fired up around the shop and seeing the work and the effort that everyone is putting in and seeing the results of that. It keeps everyone in a much better state of mind and that has been a big part of it. It has certainly been a lot of fun to be a part of a big positive swing as an organization. As I said, being a part of it for a decade and a half, it is a lot of fun at this point.


Ford performance PR