NASCAR Cup: Chris Buescher plays playoff spoiler at Bristol

0
40
BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 17: Chris Buescher, driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is presented the Bristol Motor Speedway trophy by Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 17, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – SEPTEMBER 17: Chris Buescher, driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is presented the Bristol Motor Speedway trophy by Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 17, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NASCAR Cup: Tyler Reddick wins attrition-filled Texas race

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-tyler-reddick-wins-attrition-filled-texas-race/

Photo: Getty Images

NASCAR Cup: Tyler Reddick wins attrition-filled Texas race

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-tyler-reddick-wins-attrition-filled-texas-race/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@NASCAR Xfinity: @NoahGragson scores fourth-straight win

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-noah-gragson-claims-fourth-straight-win/

Photo: Getty Images

@NASCAR Xfinity: @NoahGragson scores fourth-straight win

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-noah-gragson-claims-fourth-straight-win/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@NASCAR Cup: @BradKeselowski notches pole at @TXMotorSpeedway

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-brad-keselowski-notches-pole-at-texas/

Photo: Getty Images

@NASCAR Cup: @BradKeselowski notches pole at @TXMotorSpeedway

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-brad-keselowski-notches-pole-at-texas/

Photo: Getty Images
...

NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney’s crew chief suspended

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-ryan-blaneys-crew-chief-suspended/

Photo: Getty Images

NASCAR Cup: Ryan Blaney’s crew chief suspended

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-ryan-blaneys-crew-chief-suspended/

Photo: Getty Images
...

NASCAR Xfinity: @brennancpoole replaces Ryan Vargas for three races

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-brennan-poole-replaces-ryan-vargas-for-three-races/

Photo: Getty Images

NASCAR Xfinity: @brennancpoole replaces Ryan Vargas for three races

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-xfinity-brennan-poole-replaces-ryan-vargas-for-three-races/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@nascar Truck: @jenjocobb returns for @talladega 

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-truck-jennifer-jo-cobb-returns-for-talladega/

Photo: Getty Images

@nascar Truck: @jenjocobb returns for @talladega

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-truck-jennifer-jo-cobb-returns-for-talladega/

Photo: Getty Images
...

NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin swap pit crews

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-kyle-busch-denny-hamlin-swap-pit-crews/

Photo: Getty Images

NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin swap pit crews

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-kyle-busch-denny-hamlin-swap-pit-crews/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@NASCAR Cup: @bmsupdates driver intro. playlist

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-bristol-driver-intro-playlist/

Photo: Getty Images

@NASCAR Cup: @bmsupdates driver intro. playlist

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-bristol-driver-intro-playlist/

Photo: Getty Images
...

NASCAR Cup: Petty GMS goes with JGR pit crews

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-petty-gms-goes-with-jgr-pit-crews/

Photo: Getty Images

NASCAR Cup: Petty GMS goes with JGR pit crews

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-petty-gms-goes-with-jgr-pit-crews/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@nascar Cup: @c_buescherr plays playoff spoiker at @bmsupdates 

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-chris-buescher-plays-playoff-spoiler-at-bristol/

Photo: Getty Images

@nascar Cup: @c_buescherr plays playoff spoiker at @bmsupdates

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-chris-buescher-plays-playoff-spoiler-at-bristol/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@NASCAR Cup: @JoeyLogano makes 500th start at @bmsupdates 

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-joey-logano-makes-500th-start/

Photo: Getty Images

@NASCAR Cup: @JoeyLogano makes 500th start at @bmsupdates

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-joey-logano-makes-500th-start/

Photo: Getty Images
...

@nascar Cup: @aric_almirola wins pole at @bmsupdates 

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-aric-almirola-wins-pole-at-bristol/

Photo: Getty Images

@nascar Cup: @aric_almirola wins pole at @bmsupdates

https://autoracingdaily.com/nascar-cup-aric-almirola-wins-pole-at-bristol/

Photo: Getty Images
...

By AMANDA VINCENT

Chris Buescher claimed his second-career NASCAR Cup Series win but his first of 2022 Saturday night in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. With the win, Buescher continued the trend of non-playoff drivers winning all three races of the first round, or round of 16, of the playoffs. It also was the first points-paying win for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.

“This has been number one on my list for a really long time,” Buescher said. “I actually love this race track. It’s my favorite place we come on concrete. It’s just so special to get Fastenal their first points Cup race. After all these years, we finally got them into victory lane. We’ve got a bunch of Fastenal folks out here with us, so that’s really special and to get Ford in victory lane and spoil the playoffs. Everybody on this team did such a great job, executed all day long and we had a really fast Ford Mustang. A lot of special things came together. I want to give a shout out to Adam Reagan. He’s back at home and just had some knee surgery, so he’s at home recovering. I’m just so excited right now. This is one I’ve had circled for a really long time, and if there was gonna be one this year to get, this is it.”

Playoff drivers, including three Hendrick Motorsports drivers, rounded out the top-five with Chase Elliott in second, William Byron in third, Christopher Bell fourth and Kyle Larson fifth.

With Bristol being an elimination race in the playoffs, four drivers were eliminated from championship contention — Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Richard Childress Racing teammates Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon.

Harvick’s elimination came despite a top-10 finish Bristol. He came into Saturday’s race needing to win to advance after two DNFs (did not finish) in the first two races in the round. Instead, he finished 10th.

While Ryan Blaney advanced in the driver playoffs, his No. 12 Team Penske team was eliminated from the owner playoffs. Instead, the No. 45 team, with Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. as its driver, advanced to contend for the owner championship.

Buescher led a race-high 169 laps of the 500-lap race. He took his race-winning lead by getting off pit road first with a two-tire stop during the 11th and final caution of the race for a Bell flat tire on lap 438. 

“It’s terribly disappointing. That’s two weeks in a row we have had speed, and the car underneath me to win the race, and haven’t done it,” Bell said. “Extremely proud of this 20 group. They keep bringing Camrys that are incredible to the race track. It makes me really excited about where we are going, especially Texas – which is one of my best race tracks. I proud of everyone on this group. Proud to carry the Yahoo! colors. Hopefully, we can carry this momentum.”

Bell was the race leader when his tire went flat, and he was credited with 143 laps led. Bell’s last lead came when Brad Keselowski hit the wall because of a flat right-front tire while leading on lap 416. Keselowski had taken the lead from Kyle Larson on lap 390.

Bell came into Saturday night’s race as the only driver with playoff advancement already clinched by virtue of the points standings.

Larson was the race leader after beating Bell off pit road during a caution for an Erik Jones flat tire  on lap 352.

Flat right-front tires and power-steering issues littered the race and several playoff drivers struggled. Busch fell out of the race with a blown engine on lap 270.

“It just goes with our year,” Busch said. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m flabbergasted. I just feel so bad for my guys. They don’t deserve to be in this spot. They work too hard. We are too good of a group to be this low – down on the bottom, fighting for our lives just to make it through. Two engine failures in three weeks — that will do it to you. I really feel bad for all of Rowdy Nation, everybody at M&Ms, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy, all of the partners that get us going every week. This is not our normal.”

On the lap-277 restart following Busch’s engine problem, a multi-car crash involved four playoff drivers — Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Reddick and Dillon.

Playoff driver Joey Logano pitted under green with a flat tire on lap 399.

Keselowski won the first of two 125-lap stages after staying out during the first caution of the race on lap 41 for flat right-front tires for Harrison Burton and J.J. Yeley.

Aric Almirola and Blaney each led laps before the first yellow flag. Almirola started on the pole. Blaney took the lead from Almirola on lap 36.

Almirola, though, was the reason for the second caution on 92 with a spin in an attempt to miss Blaney with a flat right-front tire.

Blaney’s problems continued with a lost wheel on pit road and an additional pit stop for a mechanical issue. Blaney pitted, again, under green on lap 120 with another flat tire and unable to meet minimum speed.

Blaney wasn’t the only playoff driver who suffered a flat right-front tire in the opening stage. Austin Cindric made an unscheduled pit stop for a flat under green on lap 83.

Bell won the second stage that ended at lap 250 after staying out during a caution that came when playoff driver and Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin got into the wall with a flat right-front tire on lap 234.

Pit strategies varied throughout the race, and Buescher and Harvick were among the drivers who stayed out after stage one and ran first and second throughout most of the second stage.

Buescher and Harvick gave up the top-two positions in the running order to pit during the Hamlin caution.

Cautions in stage two also included one for an incident involving Harrison Burton, Ty Dillon and Erik Jones. Martin Truex Jr. headed to the garage and out of the race because of a power-steering issue during that yellow flag. Truex was the third Toyota driver to suffer a power-steering issue, joining 23XI drivers Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and Ty Gibbs.

“Blew all the (power steering) fluid all over the right-front tire and you, literally, can’t drive the car here without power steering. You lose it; you’re done,” Truex said.

Bell continued to lead into the second half of the race after staying out during the caution that followed stage two.

Other drivers finishing the Bristol Night race in the top-10 included Ross Chastain in sixth, A.J. Allmendinger in seventh, Cole Custer eighth and Hamlin in ninth.