Buescher frustrated again by late-race Darlington scuffle

Chris Buescher described Sunday at Darlington Raceway as good, hard racing until it wasn’t, as he struggled to understand Tyler Reddick’s move that took them both out of contention for the victory.

Buescher was leading the Goodyear 400 going into Turn 3 with 10 laps to go when Reddick drove to the inside. As he ran up against the wall, Buescher’s RFK Racing Ford Mustang wiggled and caught the wall with the right front. Nearly simultaneously, Reddick came up the track and collided with Buescher, sending the No. 17 back into the outside wall.

The contact cut down a right-side tire for Reddick, and he fell off the pace down the frontstretch. Buescher fell off the pace with a flat left rear tire going down the backstretch, giving the lead to teammate and RFK co-owner Brad Keselowski.


“They got side-by-side and got checked up, and we got by completely clean and was trying to take care of stuff but run hard,” Buescher said of having taken the lead with 30 laps to go when Keselowski and Reddick bounced off each other off Turn 4. “[He] just went for a move there that was never going to happen and wiped us both out. It was hard enough that we wheel hopped into the fence; it’s not just a door-to-door contact and a little push and shove. It ruined both of our days.

“I’m really frustrated by that; really [angry] about it. I don’t get it. We’ve been able to race clean for how long, and to take our group, this Fifth Third Bank No. 17 team, out of contention for a trophy — for another week to miss out on it, it’s starting to hurt.”

Buescher finished 30th after leading 21 laps. He finished seventh in both stages.

On pit road after the race, a visibly frustrated Buescher confronted Reddick. Buescher said the two have never had previous issues with each other.

“I’m struggling to understand the reason,” he said.

Of their conversation, Reddick admitted that everything Buescher said to him was accurate. The 23XI driver took responsibility for being aggressive after Buescher had raced him clean.

“I appreciate him saying he screwed up,” Buescher said. “We haven’t had issues in the past. That being said, it doesn’t change what just happened. There is a win sticker on his door top that I told him about that makes a bad day like this not matter near as much to them. But it still matters to us.

“That was a major cost to us today, not only for a win but to finish (30th) because of a flat tire. Fortunately we got stage points on the day from running well, but one poor decision and saying sorry doesn’t fix it.”

Keselowski went on to win the race after his teammate’s misfortune. The victory broke Ford’s winless streak and was the first for Keselowski as co-owner of RFK Racing.

For the second straight week, though, Buescher was left with nothing to show for his performance. He’s led 75 laps in the last two races.

“There’s plenty of positive out of it,” Buescher said. “There’s a fight in this team right now that no single on-track accident is going to take away from us. There’s speed there, obviously, with Brad winning a race. That’s huge – I’m trying to calm down and get all this right. Congrats to Brad on a huge win; that’s awesome.

“But man, to be in contention and be wiped out, selfishly, it’s hurting me, and we got to get back on track and get back in the hunt for one of these things and just try to find a clean run to the finish.”

Story originally appeared on Racer