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Chris Buescher Keeps Up Momentum with Third-Place Run in NASCAR All-Star Race

After strong runs at Kansas and Darlington, Buescher continued a strong run of races with a third-place run in Sunday's exhibition event at North Wilkesboro.


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A third-place finish in the NASCAR All-Star Race doesn't pay the $1-million dollar prize, but no amount of money can buy the momentum that Chris Buescher and RFK Racing have built heading into the Summer months of the season.

As it turns out, the Prosper, Texas native didn’t quite have the juice to successfully mount a charge on the eventual race-winner, Joey Logano – although neither did anybody else – leaving Buescher to settle for third, nipping Kyle Larson in the closing stages of the 200-lap contest.

“I felt like we had a decent shot at it there,” Buescher said post-race. “I was able to pace [Logano] pretty good, but there at the end just took too long to get around [Larson] and really didn’t have sight of the leaders at that point.”

The sting likely isn’t as severe as last weekend at Darlington, where he and Tyler Reddick made contact battling for the lead and both ended up with flat tires. And, it’s certainly not as painful as Kansas two weeks ago, where Buescher lost by 0.001 seconds – the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history.

Even though the losses hurt, the unbroken string of good runs and incredible pace show great promise for the No. 17 team, as the second half of the regular season begins with Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“It’s a good night on a night where only one position matters, but I’m proud of the group. It’s good to keep our momentum up and we’ll go onto the 600 and go win us one.”

Needless to say with his leading 199 of 200 laps, Joey Logano appeared to be unstoppable at North Wilkesboro on Sunday, but amid the dominance, both Buescher and teammate Brad Keselowski were able to put themselves in the conversation, after starting in the top five.

After making the mandatory four-tire pit stop at Lap 100, Buescher was settled into second, behind only Joey Logano, as the No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang Dark Horse prepared to tackle the final 100 laps on a set of the softer red ‘option’ tires – which throughout the night, proved to be the preferred tire.

Once the immediate chaos of back-to-back restarts subsided, the 31-year-old racer found himself shuffled back to the tail-end of the top five, in fifth, where he spent the final 43-lap green-flag run attempting to claw his way back to the front.

Completing the pass on Kyle Larson with less than five laps remaining, Buescher ended up finishing third, his best finish in four NASCAR All-Star Race appearances, surpassing a previous best of eighth in the 2022 iteration of the exhibition event.

“We stayed on reds all night, so that worked out pretty good for us,” Buescher said regarding his tire strategy. “I’m really proud of the team. Friday wasn’t very good, to be straight up about it, and they worked really hard and pulled some strings, hit some buttons, and got us a whole lot better for tonight, so I was proud of that to bring our Fastenal Mustang home third.

It’s a positive sign that RFK Racing is moving forward, with Buescher recording the organization’s first top-five result in the mid-season exhibition event since Carl Edwards scored a fifth-place run in 2014, and the best result since Matt Kenseth with third in 2012.

Photo Credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

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