Chris Buescher was having a decent race early on Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600. Then, he went into turn 1 just a little too hard on lap 116.
“In the second stage, I just tried to get too high and I got in the fence,” Buescher said after the race. “It’s on me. Cut down a tire later [and hit the wall again], lost a lap. Spent the majority of the race trying to get that back.
“We knew that we had speed still,” Buescher continued. “This [team] did a terrific job preparing [the car]. We worked really hard after practice and made a lot of changes. Just a great effort all around. That was a really fun race, the most I’ve ever had in one of these 600s. Got to keep improving a little bit, but a pretty awesome night.”
Buescher had to claw and scratch his way back up the order, racing nearly 300 miles after his wall contact before he was able to get back onto the lead lap when Kurt Busch spun exiting turn 4. Once back on the lead lap, Buescher was really able to flex his muscle and move himself into contention for a decent run.
When Brad Keselowski hit the wall and spun to bring out the 16th and final caution, Buescher took four tires on the final stop and was able to make a number of moves over the final five laps to finish sixth. The sixth-place finish is Buescher’s best finish of 2019 and his best run since a fifth-place finish in last year’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.
Buescher’s sixth-place finish moved him up one place to 22nd in the points through 13 races. He’s still 55 points behind Kyle Larson, who dropped to 16th after crashing out late. That is a gain of 12 points on 16th, but it still means that Buescher needs a lot more races like Sunday night in order to race his way into the playoffs without winning.