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Double Take: A Chris Buescher-Inspired ‘Where Are They Now?’

When Chris Buescher was declared the winner of the Pennsylvania 400 on Monday, he joined an elite list of drivers as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner. He is the 185th different winner in Cup history, and his win was the fourth ever for the No. 34, his car number.

In honor of Buescher’s first-ever win, and inspired by his car number, here’s a look back at the last 34 first-time winners and what they’re currently doing.

  1. Chris Buescher (summer Pocono, 2016): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup as a rookie for Front Row Motorsports. Sits just outside the top 30 in points and a qualifying berth in the Chase, which would also be FRM’s first trip to the playoffs.
  2. AJ Allmendinger (Watkins Glen, 2014): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for JTG Daugherty Racing. Has one career Chase berth in 2014; was knocked out of the playoffs after the first round. Always a threat on the road courses.
  3. Aric Almirola (summer Daytona, 2014): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Richard Petty Motorsports. His win at Daytona is currently his only Cup win through 200 starts.
  4. Marcos Ambrose (Watkins Glen, 2011): Won two races at the Sprint Cup level before moving back to his home country of Australia following the 2014 season. Raced V8 Supercars for part of a season in 2015 before retiring from full-time racing for good.
  5. Paul Menard (Indianapolis, 2011): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Richard Childress Racing. Has one career Chase berth in 2015; was knocked out of the playoffs after the first round. Currently sits 23rd in Cup points and likely needs a win to make the Chase a second time.
  6. David Ragan (summer Daytona, 2011): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for BK Racing. Won a second race at Talladega in 2013 for FRM.
  7. Regan Smith (Darlington, 2011): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Returned to Cup in 2016 following a stint in the XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports, where he won six races and finished second in points in 2014.
  8. Trevor Bayne (winter Daytona, 2011): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Roush Fenway Racing. Scored his second career top-5 finish in Cup five years after his win. Won a segment of the Sprint Showdown in 2016 to advance to the Sprint All-Star Race.
  9. Joey Logano (spring New Hampshire, 2009): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Team Penske. Originally ran for Joe Gibbs Racing, but following the 2012 season he moved to Penske. He’s won 13 races while paired up with the Captain, including the 2015 Daytona 500.
  10. David Reutimann (spring Charlotte, 2009): Made his last Sprint Cup start in 2014 and hasn’t renewed his NASCAR license since. It was revealed in 2015 that he had been considered for FRM’s No. 34 ride when Ragan moved to JGR to sub for Kyle Busch but without a license, he was unable to take the job.
  11. Brad Keselowski (spring Talladega, 2009): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Team Penske and sits atop the Chase Grid with four wins. Won the 2012 Cup title on the strength of five wins.
  12. Clint Bowyer (fall New Hampshire, 2007): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for HScott Motorsports. Will move to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to replace the retiring Tony Stewart. Has won a total of eight races at the Cup level, including a three-race campaign in 2012.
  13. Juan Pablo Montoya (Sonoma, 2007): Currently drives full-time in IndyCar for Team Penske. Montoya won two races in his Cup career, both on road courses, before moving back to open-wheel racing following the 2013 season. Made his only Chase in 2009; finished eighth.
  14. Martin Truex Jr. (spring Dover, 2007): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Furniture Row Racing. Played an instrumental role in turning FRR from mid-pack team to title contender. Has won four career races, including a dominating performance in the 2016 Coca-Cola 600.
  15. Casey Mears (Charlotte, 2007): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Germain Racing. His Coca-Cola 600 win remains his only Cup victory. Currently sits 28th in points.
  16. Brian Vickers (fall Talladega, 2006): Is currently without a ride in all three national series. Faced multiple bouts of blood clots over the past half-dozen years or so, causing him to vacate rides at Red Bull Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. Ran a few races in a substitute role for Stewart at the beginning of 2016.
  17. Denny Hamlin (spring Pocono, 2006): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Joe Gibbs Racing. Has won 27 careers races, including an eight-win season in 2010. That year, he led the Chase standings heading into the finale at Homestead but ultimately finished second to Jimmie Johnson.
    (Photo: John Harrelson / NKP)
    While Denny Hamlin conquered the Daytona 500 in February, his first victory came just over a decade ago at Pocono Raceway.(Photo: John Harrelson / NKP)
  18. Kyle Busch (fall Auto Club, 2005): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for JGR. Has won 38 career races, including eight in 2008. Won the 2015 Cup title after missing the first 11 races of the season with a broken leg and foot sustained in the NXS opener at Daytona.
  19. Kasey Kahne (spring Richmond, 2005): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Hendrick Motorsports. Has 17 career victories but none since 2014.
  20. Carl Edwards (spring Atlanta, 2005): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for JGR. Won two races early this season to qualify him for the Chase, putting his career victory total at 27.
  21. Greg Biffle (summer Daytona, 2003): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for RFR. Hasn’t won since 2013, but did take a segment of the Sprint Showdown in 2016.
  22. Johnny Benson (fall Rockingham, 2002): Hasn’t made a Cup start since 2008 and hasn’t raced full-time since 2003. His victory at the Rock is his only career win. Currently builds racecars and serves on the National Motorsports Appeal Panel.
  23. Jamie McMurray (fall Charlotte, 2002): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for Chip Ganassi Racing. Won the 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, highlights among his seven-win resume. Would make the Chase based on points if it started today.
  24. Ryan Newman (fall New Hampshire, 2002): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for RCR. Won the 2008 Daytona 500 for Team Penske before moving to SHR for five seasons. Is currently in Chase contention based on points.
  25. Jimmie Johnson (Auto Club, 2002): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for HMS. A six-time Cup champion, Johnson sits sixth on the all-time wins chart with 77 wins.
  26. Kurt Busch (spring Bristol, 2002): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for SHR. Won the first Chase title in 2004. Lost multiple rides to behavioral issues but has settled in nicely at SHR. Has completed every lap in 2016 through 21 races.
  27. Robby Gordon (fall New Hampshire, 2001): Primarily a road-course ace, Gordon won three races before retiring from Cup in 2012. Currently operates and races in the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road Series.
  28. Ricky Craven (fall Martinsville, 2001): Retired from Cup racing following the 2004 season. Won only one other race in his Cup career, the famous side-by-side battle with Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003. Currently serves as an analyst for ESPN.
  29. Elliott Sadler (spring Bristol, 2001): Currently drives full-time in XFINITY for JRM. Won two more races at the Cup level in 2003 and qualified for the inaugural Chase in 2004. Hasn’t run full-time in Cup since 2010.
  30. Kevin Harvick (spring Atlanta, 2001): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for SHR. Won the 2014 Cup championship and was the picture of consistency in 2015, finishing in the top 5 23 times in 36 races. Has won a total of 32 races at the Cup level and leads the standings at the moment.
  31. Michael Waltrip (winter Daytona, 2001): Won another Daytona 500 in 2003. Currently serves as an analyst for NASCAR on FOX while making spot starts in restrictor plate races.
  32. Jerry Nadeau (Fall Atlanta, 2000): Atlanta was Nadeau’s only career win. Ran for MBV Motorsports in 2003 when a wreck in practice left him with partial paralysis and a fractured skull, among other injuries. He was able to recover from his injuries, and despite attempting a NASCAR comeback, hasn’t raced in the top three series since. He has held a variety of non-driving jobs for NASCAR teams since then, however.
  33. Steve Park (Watkins Glen, 2000): Has only run two Cup races since 2003. Also won at Rockingham in 2001. Currently operates a Batteries Plus Bulbs franchise in Moorseville, N.C.
  34. Matt Kenseth (Coca-Cola 600, 2000): Currently drives full-time in Sprint Cup for JGR. Has won 38 races at the top level and won the final Winston Cup and full-season championship in 2003.

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