Chris Buescher admits ‘We’ve got our work cut out for us now’

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 15: Chris Buescher (#17 RFK Racing Travel Centers of America Ford) during the South Point 400 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race on October 15, 2023, Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Matthew Bolt/LVMS/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Chris Buescher was an outlier Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After Brad Keselowski’s elimination in the Round of 12 Buescher is the lone representative for Roush-Fenway Keselowski who remains eligible for NASCAR’s Playoffs.

After the checkered flag Sunday he was originally the only Playoff driver to finish outside the top 10 coming home 11th.

After starting fifth Buescher struggled all race long finishing outside the top 10 in both Stages.

“We got shuffled back a little bit in some dirty air and it was a struggle back there for a little bit,” he said. “We got back going and needed some longer runs and green flag cycles to sort it out and we didn’t get it that way. We were able to make some decent work out of it and get a pretty decent finish out of the day.”

His team owner meanwhile finished fourth after scoring points in both Stages. Buescher said the team will look at Keselowski’s run.

“There will be plenty to dive into and study,” Buescher said. “But we’re a pretty open book so we’ve got a lot of info going back and forth between the groups all the time. We’ll figure out how to be better for next week.”

Buescher said track position was key and once he fell back in the field it was hard to make up ground.

“Yeah, that was it,” Buescher said. “It’s hard to get them back. The pit box was super slick today and that really made it difficult. We lost a lot of spots and trying to get them back was just tough on the day. We’ve got our work cut out for us now.”

Buescher came into Vegas 8th in the standings and leaves in the same spot. Still, he tried to remain positive knowing that with Vegas being the first round his struggle Sunday isn’t necessarily a worst case scenario.

“A worst-case scenario would have been in the garage 38th with a handful of the others that made big mistakes, so it’s not that,” he said. “It just wasn’t good enough compared to the guys we’re going to be racing, so it was a great day in a lot of ways, but just not good enough.”

Still, he will have two races to try and improve his results.

“We had a restart there today in the middle and lost track position and it was hard to get it back,” he said. “It got a little strung out there at the end and was able to start picking them off one by one. I guess you could say we ran out of time. It was a decent day. It’s good to be upset with 11th, I guess, but we just needed to outrun a lot of cars that we didn’t and that’s going to make the next two weeks that much more difficult.”


Greg Engle