Buescher earns a ‘huge’ second place finish at Phoenix

Chris Buescher turned a quiet day for his RFK Racing team into a much-needed second-place finish Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.

Buescher’s No. 17 Ford Mustang Dark Horse team made the call to stay out for track position when the final caution flew on lap 215. It moved Buescher into the top five for the restart inside the final 92 laps. He did so while managing fuel over the final stint, which later allowed him to make a charge to second place.

“That’s huge,” Buescher said. “We’ve been able to lead races at any point in all three races leading up to this [one]. We didn’t quite get there today, but certainly a great finish for our Ford Mustang. I’m really proud of everybody. This is a good try.”


Buescher qualified 14th for the Shriners Children’s 500 and earned an average running position of 12.4 throughout the afternoon. After not scoring any points in the first stage (finishing 17th), he was 10th at the end of the second stage.

In the final stage, the No. 17 was running 17th when the final caution came out, and the team elected to stay on track. It initially moved him to fourth, and he chose the inside lane to be third on the restart. Once crew chief Scott Graves and the team were confident on fuel, Buescher was given the call inside the final 20 laps to go hard.

Buescher took second place from Ty Gibbs with eight laps to go, but was 5.4s behind Christopher Bell at the finish.

“What thrills me is we were by no means perfect on balance, so we have a lot of room to make this thing better, which is awesome,” Buescher said. “It tells me we can go compete for that thing.”

Sunday was Buescher’s second top-five finish at Phoenix in the last two races. It was his first top-five finish of the season, and it came a week after an early exit from the Las Vegas race when the right front wheel came off his Ford, which resulted in the suspension of two crew members.

RFK Racing filed an appeal over the penalty and NASCAR deferred the suspensions. Buescher had his usual crew on pit road at Phoenix.

“We had a rough go last week and this is good to get everybody back together and prove that we’re in this together, that we’re going to win and lose these things as a team,” Buescher said. “That was almost a win today. We were close in a way, but I couldn’t even see [Bell], so that was going to be a tough one to battle for a win.

“Really impressed with everybody today; they did a heck of a job and worked hard to get back up where we needed to be there at the end. I was able to save just enough fuel to be able to go 100 percent there at the end and at least get one more spot and get to second. Really proud of that.”

Story originally appeared on Racer