Race Weekend Central

Chris Buescher Finishes 2nd at Sonoma After 2 Rough Weeks

Chris Buescher came close but just didn’t have enough, as he finished second to Daniel Suarez in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 for the NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday (June 12).

But after the last few weeks Buescher has had, second ought to feel like a win.

The last time Buescher was in a racecar, he was upside down on the frontstretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway after a freak accident in the Coca-Cola 600 (coincidentally, Suarez was the one who sparked that crash).

(561) Chris Buescher flips down the front stretch at Charlotte | NASCAR – YouTube

And if that wasn’t good enough to rattle him, Buescher tested positive for COVID-19 in the week following the race, sidelining him from competing at the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series event at World Wide Technology Raceway. (Zane Smith made his first Cup start to fill in.)

After being cleared to race at Sonoma, Buescher rebounded well. He qualified his No. 17 Ford Mustang in third place and did not fall out of the top five much throughout the course of the event. The 29-year-old led four laps en route to a second-place finish, but for a moment, it looked like he might win.

Following a restart with 23 laps to go, Buescher would not leave the rear bumper of Suarez. He stayed within a half-second of the No. 99 Chevrolet for a majority of the run before finally falling off in the last couple of laps, finishing five seconds behind the first-time Cup winner.

Despite picking up his best finish of the season, Buescher still wanted more. Missing a race leaves him 22nd in points, 105 behind the playoff cutline even with this runner-up result. It’s clear Buescher and the No. 17 have to win in order to make the postseason.

“I’m just disappointed in myself — didn’t get the job done there,” Buescher said after the race. “I apologize to these guys, because they put an awesome Fifth Third Bank Mustang under me. Heck of a return.”

“… Everybody back at RFK [Racing] is doing a great job. It hurts to be that close.”

Speaking of RFK Racing, the team had a great day as a whole, something the team has desperately needed this season. The team’s other driver (and part-owner), Brad Keselowski, managed to finish 10th — his first top-10 result since the season-opening Daytona 500 back in February.

RFK Racing looks to ride the momentum into the off week before attempting to capitalize when the Cup Series returns to Nashville Superspeedway on June 26.

RACE WEEKEND CENTRAL: SONOMA

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johndawgchapman

Finally, some much needed light, at the end of a long dark tunnel for RFK. Their focus now needs to be getting a win for Buscher to get him into the playoffs.

A win for Brad doesn’t seem close. And even a win, while nice, wouldn’t help his playoff situation much.

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