Chris Buescher capped off a career season Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, finishing fifth in the Fastenal Ford Mustang.
“I wish we would have been in the Championship 4 because we certainly had a shot at it here today,” Buescher said after the race. “I’ve never had that much fun here at Phoenix and I surely appreciate all those guys and girls’ hard work to get us to that point. It was a great race. We got behind on one pit stop and then I think we had something happen at the end. It felt like we dropped a cylinder or something to the point we weren’t 100 percent. To still battle and come home fifth was a fantastic race for us.”
Buescher was the winner of stage two, and led 18 laps midway through the 312-lap Championship race Sunday. His weekend began with a solid, ninth-place qualifying effort, the best of his career at Phoenix.
The opening stage of 60 laps ran caution-free, with Buescher driving to a sixth-place result. He restarted inside the top five, and maintained the top five position for the next 80 laps. The first non-stage caution flew at lap 108 with Buescher in fifth, and he lined up fourth on the ensuing restart.
From there, he set sail and took the lead on lap 171, and held it to the stage end at lap 185. The pit stop under the stage break saw troubles on the right front with Buescher lining back up eighth for stage three.
A green-flag pit cycle, and final caution on lap 274, were the only breaks remaining in the race. Buescher was sixth at the final yellow with 37 to go, and restarted 10th with 31 laps remaining. He again showed his prowess, powering back into the top five in the closing laps to fifth.
It marked Buescher’s ninth top five of the season and 17th top-10 of 2023, both career records.
“I’m super proud of everybody on this team. What a fantastic year. I would have loved to been in that Championship 4 because I think we would have had a real shot at this thing today. It’s a huge accomplishment for this season and I can’t wait until next year.”
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