By Toby Christie, Editor – Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
Third year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Chris Buescher is turning some heads early in 2018.
The 25-year-old, who wheels the No. 37 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for JTG Daugherty Racing, captured the third top-five finish of his career in the season-opening Daytona 500. It was an impressive finish, but at restrictor plate races anyone can have a good day so long as they avoid the carnage.
The Prosper, Texas native is far more impressed with how his team performed this week in the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The weekend didn’t start off great. When the team unloaded the No. 37 car it looked like they were a mid-pack car. In the first two practice sessions of the weekend, Buescher was in the mid-20’s on the speed chart. In qualifying, he was even worse in 28th.
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But somewhere between qualifying and final practice, Buescher and his crew chief Trent Owens found something. Buescher turned the 13th-fastest lap of the final tune up session for Sunday’s race.
When the race began, Buescher was a slow and steady marcher through the field. By the mid-way point in the race, he had moved to 19th. With a lack of caution flags (only four on the day) and the blistering pace set by race-winner Kevin Harvick, Buescher would fall two laps off the pace. But in the end, he still had a good enough day to finish in 15th — his second top-15 of the year, and best finish ever at the 1.5-mile speedway in Nevada.
“That was a lot of fun first of all. Best race we have had this year and looking at quite a few at the end of last year,” Buescher said. “From what I remember [top-15] was big. For us to be able to get a top 15 with our Natural Light Camaro ZL1 here at Vegas makes me excited to come back for the second one. I know conditions will be a lot different, but man it was a good time.”
Buescher was excited that he was able to get up in there a pass a bunch of race cars throughout the race (81 green flag passes in total, according to NASCAR’s loop data).
“We were able to go up there and pass some cars and get in a good spot,” Buescher stated. “We just got a little bit off on that last stop there, but at the end of the day that was a lot of fun. I’m proud of everybody they worked hard this weekend. We didn’t unload very close, but we got a lot better by the end of practice and it showed in the race.”
Buescher moves to 16th in the championship standings and now heads to Phoenix, where he has never recorded a finish better than 27th. But with how well his race team is performing so far this season, he has a realistic shot at grabbing his best-career finish at that race track as well.
Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Toby Christie is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Christie is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has covered the sport as a media member since 2007. Christie began his love for NASCAR as a fan in 1993. You can Tweet Toby at Toby_Christie, or email him at email@example.com.