Nature of Kansas defeat is a sting that won’t go away for Buescher

Sunday night’s historic finish at Kansas Speedway will stay with Chris Buescher for the foreseeable future.

“Yes. I told everybody I thought I was going to throw up on the way to the airport afterward,” Buescher said Tuesday on the Dale Jr. Download.

Buescher finished second to Kyle Larson by 0.001s in the AdventHealth 400. It displaced the finish between Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven from the 2003 race at Darlington Raceway as the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history.

It wasn’t just Buescher coming up short that made the defeat sting. Buescher’s No. 17 RFK Racing team initially thought they’d won the race after crossing the finish line. NASCAR’s timing and scoring showed 0.000 on the pit boxes, and Buescher’s name topped the racetrack scoring pylon.


However, with such a close finish, NASCAR immediately went to its high-speed camera system for a review. It showed Larson was the winner, and the celebration of Buescher and his team while driving down the backstretch on the cool-down lap quickly turned to confusion and disappointment.

“I guess when I look back at it, if we’d gone across the line and from the get-go thought we finished second, you would have been upset about it, you would have been hurt about it, but it would have been OK. But to be in that first minute that everything was very confusing, we’re trying to figure out how we’re getting this answer … transponders and timing and scoring, and everything is in our favor — obviously, the painted line, which doesn’t really matter.

“It’s comical right now to talk about but to see it all play out the way it did, it hurts. And knowing the result now and understanding it, it’s not going to make it any easier. You understand it now, at least, but it’s not going to make it easier. This one is going to hurt for a really, really long time.”

Buescher’s team has told him to let it hurt until he gets to Darlington Raceway, where they could win and put Kansas behind them. Sunday was Buescher’s second runner-up finish of the second. The difference, however, is that a win at Kansas was much more realistic as Buescher led 53 laps and won the second stage.

“I finished second at Phoenix to Christopher Bell and it wasn’t even close; he just walked away from the field and at that race, second felt good because we knew we needed a lot of work to win,” Buescher said. “This one, to be that close and not be able to get it, it’s going to stick with us for a long time.”

Story originally appeared on Racer