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Chris Buescher Holds Off Truex to Score Back-to-Back NASCAR Cup Wins

The driver of the No. 17 RFK Racing Castrol Edge Ford Mustang defended challenges from Martin Truex Jr. over the final 12 Laps of the FireKeepers Casino 400 to score his second-consecutive win.


hero image for Chris Buescher Holds Off Truex to Score Back-to-Back NASCAR Cup Wins

If you thought last weekend's race win at Richmond Raceway was a statement win for Chris Buescher and the No. 17 RFK Racing team, the group put an exclamation point on it by winning again on Monday at Michigan International Speedway.

Buescher, who was part of a company-wide celebration at the RFK shop on Tuesday, says Monday's win was the plan all along.

"Yeah, yeah, that was our plan, right? That's what we come to do every weekend," an exuberant Buescher stated.

The 30-year-old racer, who led a race-high 52 laps in Monday's postponed NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, took the lead from Martin Truex Jr. for the final time with 12 laps remaining.

RELATED: NASCAR Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 Race Results

Truex would apply pressure for the duration of the finish, but Buescher remained rock-steady and held off every challenge on his path to his latest win, the fourth of his NASCAR Cup Series career.

"This Castrol Mustang was so good in practice, qualifying," Buescher said of his stout race car. "[My team] Gave me a great car again. Had to work for that one too, hard racing at the end. Martin [Truex Jr.] was very clean with me. I appreciate that."

Get to go to Victory Lane two weeks in a row. That's pretty awesome.

With two consecutive wins, has RFK Racing emerged as the dominant force in the Ford camp as the Playoffs are nearing?

"I mean, results will do it, right," Buescher said. "We've got work to do yet. That's massive progress right there for us to do at two vastly different racetracks. We got road races coming up. I'm excited for those, too. And Daytona. I look at the schedule we have ahead of us. This is a heck of a time to get turned on and get rolling.

While Buescher experienced elation after he was able to pull out every trick in his arsenal to defeat Truex, who had taken both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 wins, Truex was not as happy about the near-miss. But Truex says that's how it goes, as clean air is king.

"No, not really," Truex answered when asked if he could have done anything differently. "I think we needed maybe a little bit longer run to wear the tires some more. I feel like we were a little better. It's hard to pass the leader on equal tires. We had an unbelievable car today. Hats off to everybody that puts in the work on these things. Toyota TRD, Bass Pro, Reser's, everybody that supports us."

Truex continued by saying, "It was a rocket. The leader in clean air is really, really hard to pass. Just didn't quite have enough. All in all, a good day."

While it had to sting to not find victory lane on Monday, Truex took a massive step toward the regular season championship, as he padded his point lead by 18 points with another stellar performance.

With three races left in the regular season, Truex holds a stiff 57-point lead over his teammate Denny Hamlin.

Speaking of Hamlin, as the battle raged on for the win between Buescher and Truex, Hamlin started reeling in the top-two drivers. However, time ran out, as Hamlin finished 1.781 sec. behind the winner Buescher.

Still, considering Hamlin's car stalled out on a late-race pit stop, costing him a lot of track position, the fact that he was in contention for a solid finish was miraculous.

Bookending the top four was Buescher's RFK Racing teammate, and team co-owner Brad Keselowski.

Keselowski, a native of Michigan, has yet to score a victory at his home track, but he gave it another solid effort on Monday, and he snagged his second top-five finish and fourth top-10 finish in his last five starts.

The driver of the No. 6 Ford Mustang, who came into the day 11th in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, admits that he went into this race with a points-first mindset. After seeing the speed that the two RFK Racing cars showed, Keselowski wonders what would have happened if his team was going aggressively for the win.

"Yeah, I scored a lot of points," Keselowski said. "Obviously, we want to win. The speed we showed at the end was enough to win the race but at the beginning and early part of the race we were only really good enough to run 10th. We went for our points mode. The speed showed up. Dang, maybe we shouldn't have gone for points. That's part of how it always plays out."

While Keselowski didn't score the win, he's certainly proud of his teammate Buescher showcasing the hard work that is being put in back at the RFK Racing shop in Concord, North Carolina.

"We're letting our results speak for themselves," Keselowski stated proudly. "Chris has done a heck of a job driving the car. When you get win, it feels really good. We got to keep some humbleness and keep our heads down. There's some great competition out here."

Kyle Larson carried the banner for Hendrick Motorsports on a very trying weekend for the team with a fifth-place finish on Monday. Larson was the lone Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to finish the race, as the other three team cars finished 33rd, 35th, and 36th after being swept up in incidents.

Daniel Suarez bolstered his Playoff hopes with a solid sixth-place finish, and he came in ahead of his Trackhouse Racing teammate Ross Chastain, who finished seventh.

Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney, and Erik Jones rounded out the top 10 finishers in the race.

Monday's race, which started on Sunday afternoon, but was pushed into Monday due to rain, featured an impressive 26 lead changes among 16 leaders.

The 26 lead changes in Monday's race were the most recorded in a NASCAR Cup Series event at the 2-mile oval in Brookyln, MI since the 2012 Pure Michigan 400, which was ironically won by RFK Racing's Greg Biffle.

RFK Racing now boasts 14 wins at the facility.

Next up for the NASCAR Cup Series is a date with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Sunday, August 13th. That race will be televised on NBC beginning at 2:30 PM ET. IMS Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will provide the radio broadcast of the event.

Photo Credit: David Rosenblum, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance

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