By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Though Chris Buescher has gardened consistency during his Cup Series careers on road courses, Sunday at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course brought it to a new level.
Competing in the first-ever Cup race on the 3.6-mile Florida road course, Buescher ended the unpredictable 65-lapper in fifth place driving his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.
Holding off a slew of competitors throughout the final three-lap shootout — including the likes of Clint Bowyer, Kaz Grala and William Byron — Buescher had just enough to edge out a top-five result.
“That was just a fun day for our Fastenal Ford Mustang team,” Buescher said. “We needed that after a couple of hard weeks.”
The finish may have been Buescher’s first top 10 on a road course in a Cup car, however, it followed a string of consistent finishes on left-and-right-cornered tracks. With 11 starts on road courses in the Cup Series, Buescher finished 20th or better eight times. Additionally, Buescher scored his first-career Xfinity Series win on a road course back in 2014.
“Some decent runs and some bad luck and that was fun,” he said. “I was able to mix it up and steadily work our way forward. We kept learning as we went and there at the end we got beat up.”
Sunday was a valuable day for both Buescher and the Roush team as a whole. With Sunday’s being Buescher’s first recorded top five outside a superspeedway since 2016, the result was the first road course top five for Roush’s once-dominant Ford program since 2014.
Though well outside the playoff conversation with just three races remaining in the regular season, Buescher still finds value in a strong day.
“All four corners of this Mustang are beat up but we got the finish out of it,” he said. “That was a good one. A good day.”
Top 5 for @Chris_Buescher! Heck of an effort by the @FastenalRacing team to get up front at the end there! pic.twitter.com/yd5uAtL3Gk
— Roush Fenway (@roushfenway) August 16, 2020