Despite ‘awesome’ finish, Sonoma loss “bums me out”

Despite 'awesome' finish, Sonoma loss "bums me out"

Buescher’s up-and-down season has him precariously close to the cutoff line to make the 16-driver playoff field, but a win would lock him in, and he found himself in excellent position late in Sunday’s race to do just that.

Buescher, who drives the No. 17 Ford for RFK Racing, made his first stop early in the race and stayed out to take the Stage 2 win.

While in the lead, he then was among the first group of drivers to make their final pit stop in the final stage but also had to run the longest on his tires as the race ended with a 51-lap green-flag run.

Buescher tried everything he could to remain ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson – who both pit later with fresher tires – but to no avail.

Watch: Kyle Larson makes way of Truex and Buescher to triumph at Sonoma

With nine of 110 laps to go, Truex got around him and one lap later, Larson powered past Truex and on to the race win. Buescher hung on to finish third while Truex ran out of fuel on the final lap.

“It was really good strategy on the day and an awesome finish. I wasn’t quite able to hold the lead there and that bums me out,” Buescher, 31, said. “I was trying.

“Ultimately, we started deep in the field, and it was going to be hard to make it work, but Scott (Graves, crew chief) and our group did a fantastic job. They played it well and got us up front.

“We got a stage win, a playoff point, but ultimately there at the end I wasn’t able to hold on. If that was just a little bit of tire difference late in the run or how hard I ran at the beginning I’m not sure.”

While he does not yet own a road course win in Cup, Buescher has been incredibly proficient on them of late. He has now finished in the top-10 in 11 of his last 12 road course events, including finishes of fourth, second and third in his last three.

He remains in the top 16 in points but would feel much more secure about his chances to compete for a series title this year with a win.

“Proud of the day. If you would have told us at the beginning, we could run third at one stage, we would have taken that, so we should be happy, and we are,” he said. “Just wanted a little bit more still.”

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