Buescher on Losing End of NASCAR Closest Finish: 'Sucks to Be That Close'

nascar cup series adventhealth 400
Buescher: 'Sucks' to Lose NASCAR's Closest FinishLogan Riely - Getty Images
  • NASCAR ruled Kyle Larson the winner of Sunday's Cup Series race by 0.001 second, the closest finish in Cup Series history.

  • The final dash to the finish between Larson and Chris Buescher was set up by a late caution caused by a Kyle Busch spin with six laps remaining.

  • Larson’s victory was his second this season and the 25th of his Cup career.

For a brief moment Sunday night at Kansas Speedway, there was jubilation in Chris Buescher’s pit when his RFK Racing crew thought he had edged Kyle Larson at the finish line in the Advent Health 400.

However, their happiness quickly turned into stunned disbelief when NASCAR ruled Larson the winner by 0.001 second, the closest finish in Cup Series history.


“We were banging doors all the way to the checkers,” Buescher said after his second runner-up finish this season. “That sucks to be that close.”

Buescher said he and his crew celebrated as he drove down the backstretch on the cool-down lap, looking at the scoring pylon that showed him P1.

“Everything we had said we had gotten it,” said Buescher, who led four times for 54 laps in the race that was delayed by rain for more than three hours. “I don’t understand how the timing system can read it out one way and not the other. It sucks to celebrate on the backstretch and then pull up to the front straightaway and be told no.”

The door banging charge to the finish by Larson and Buescher was set up by Kyle Busch’s spin with six laps remaining in the scheduled 267-lap race. When the yellow flag waved, Denny Hamlin was leading with Martin Truex Jr. in hot pursuit. Hamlin was in fuel conservation mode, while Truex was running full throttle. When the seventh and final caution period began on lap 262, all of the lead-lap cars pitted.

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing crew produced a 5.2-second stop to get him off pit road first. Buescher and Larson followed with Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top five. When they lined up for the restart Hamlin elected the inside lane, while Buescher took the outside. Larson, Blaney, John Hunter Nemechek and Corey Heim lined up behind Hamlin. Elliott, Noah Gragson, Alex Bowman and Truex chose the outside behind Buescher.

Buescher shot into the lead when the green flag waved, and Larson passed Hamlin on the inside. On the final lap, Buescher headed into turn one with Larson in hot pursuit. Exiting turn two, Buescher chose the middle groove and Larson went high. Buescher attempted to hold Larson against the wall as they exited turn four but they door slammed each other twice as they raced to the finish line.

The photo finish showed the front air dam on Larson’s Chevrolet less than an inch ahead of Buescher’s Ford.

“I certainly could have blocked more, but at the end of the day I felt like I was pretty defensive on it,” Buescher said. “I felt like I was going to make a drag race out of it coming to the finish line. We got to banging doors there a little bit and lost some momentum and I was aggressive trying to cover it. I just needed a draft to keep speed up down the straightaway.

“Second hurts a whole lot worse than third.”

Larson said his run into the first and second turns on the race’s final lap was better than he expected.

“He (Buescher) got kind of looking in the mirror and he entered a little bit lower into (turn) three, and I was able to have that momentum with some clean air to get to his right side,” said Larson, who led six times for 63 laps.

“I got pretty loose there in the center of turns three and four next to him, just kind of in an awkward aero spot there and figured I would smash the wall off of (turn) four. But somehow it gripped up really good. We touched a little bit off of (turn) four. I noticed that he was going to have the run back, so I hung a left and just tried to kill his momentum. I’ve seen so many times in NASCAR where if the guy has got a run, you can just door him and it kind of stops it. That’s what happened.”

Larson’s victory was his second this season, the 25th of his Cup career and the sixth for Hendrick Motorsports in 2024.

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A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to what Denny Hamlin thought was going to he his fourth victory of the season.Logan Riely - Getty Images

Late Race Caution Foils Hamlin’s Victory Plans

With six laps remaining in Sunday night’s rain-delayed Advent Health 400, Denny Hamlin thought he was headed for his fourth victory this season. Then Kyle Busch spun in turn two, bringing out the seventh and final caution flag.

The lead-lap cars headed to pit road and Hamlin was first back on the track thanks to a 5.2-second pit stop. However, when the race restarted, Chris Buescher shot into the lead and was followed by eventual winner Kyle Larson. Hamlin was relegated to a fifth-place finish.

“I needed to get the push from the 5 (Larson), but I knew he wasn’t going to stay in line, that he was going to go for the win,” said Hamlin, the race’s top lap leader with 71 laps led on six occasions in the overtime event.

“Unfortunately, it left me in a spot where I was vulnerable there in the middle.”

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Alex Bowman said he got all he could out of the 48 on Sunday.Sean Gardner - Getty Images

Top 10 for Bowman Despite Car Issue

Alex Bowman described his third consecutive top-10 finish as “probably like a win” since he had an issue with his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

“The start of the last long run, we broke the nose on the restart. It’s all separated,” Bowman said. “We got really slow down the straightaway and really tight after that, so a seventh-place finish is probably like a win.”

Heim Records Second Truck Victory

Corey Heim led four times for 79 laps, including the final 33, to win the Heart of America 200 at Kansas Speedway, his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory this season and the seventh of his career.

It also was Heim’s first victory at a traditional 1.5-mile track.

“I feel like we were the best truck all year at mile-and-a-half race tracks last year, just weren’t able to close the deal,” Heim said. “To get this one feels so good and I think we have many more ahead of us.”

Crew Member Escapes Injury

Front tire changer Brandon Henry escaped serious injury in Saturday night’s Heart of America 200 after being struck by Lawless Alan’s Ford truck during a pit stop at Kansas Speedway.

The incident occurred during the third and final caution period when Alan hit the 30-year-old Henry who was running to the truck’s right side. The truck’s right front caught Henry and he went to the ground. Alan’s crew motioned him to abort the pit stop and return to the track.

Henry was taken to the track’s infield care center where he was evaluated and released. He returned to the Reaume Brothers Racing pit for the rest of the 134-lap race.