Ford Performance NASCAR: Richmond 2 (Chris Buescher)


Ford Performance NASCAR Notes and Quotes

Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond International Raceway
Friday, September 9, 2016

Chris Buescher, driver of the No. 34 CSX Play it Safe Ford Fusion, enters Saturday night’s race at Richmond with an 11-point cushion on David Ragan for a top-30 points spot and a berth in the 2016 Chase. Buescher spoke about the strategy that surrounds his team tomorrow.

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 34 CSX Play it Safe Ford Fusion – YOU ARE 11 POINTS TO THE GOOD INSIDE THE TOP-30 TO LOCK UP A CHASE SPOT. HOW DO YOU FEEL? WHAT IS THE MINDSET? “I think we pretty much know what we have to do here at Richmond. It is really pretty obvious. We are going to control what we can control and do our best to have a good, clean race. Stay out of trouble. All the normal things you try to do. Go out here and try to have a good run at Richmond. This is historically not one of my better tracks but we have been making progress. Throughout practice we were better than earlier in the spring. I am happy about that. I wish it was a little cooler so we knew what we would have when it comes around to race time but at the end of the day we are all in the same boat and we will all figure it out together.”

WITH RECENT SUCCESS, DO YOU HAVE THE CONFIDENCE NOW THAT IF YOU DO MAKE THE CHASE THAT YOU CAN MAKE SOME NOISE? “Yeah, I said it even before Pocono that we had been heading in the right direction for a while and we had some really good runs without the finishes to show for it. As recently as Michigan, we struggled all day trying to get that issue resolved there at a place we easily could have come out with a top-20 finish and wouldn’t even have had to worry about our points situation. As our luck would go for the year we had the issue and now we are just barely in at this point. I say that but obviously we had a lot of bad luck but one day of pretty awesome luck as well. What it does for us now is that we have seen speed at a lot of different race tracks. A lot of tracks that we are going back to for the second time finally. It is places that we should be able to compete well at. The 1.5-mile program over at Front Row Motorsport and Roush Fenway has gotten a lot better throughout the year and it is a way to make sure we move through the first round and try to get in to the top-12 and see where it goes from there.”

HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING AGGRESSIVE TOMORROW NIGHT TO MAKE THE CHASE BUT NOT OVERLY AGGRESSIVE? “That is actually something we have talked quite a bit about. We are not in a full defensive mode. We can’t go out and just try to run every lap and stay out of everyone’s way and that will be enough. We don’t have that luxury. We are coming out here to race aggressively for every position, every point we can possibly get, without taking unnecessary risk. If it is a matter of not being three-wide into a corner and giving up that position, we will give that up. If it is two-wide racing someone hard so we can get by someone we have been faster than, we will race them as hard as we possibly can to maximize our day. We can only control what we can control. That is pretty much our game plan. We are going out here to race, have a really good day, and avoid the risk that would put us in a bad spot and possibly take us out of this Chase.”

WHEN IT COMES TO UPDATES DURING THE RACE ON THE STANDINGS, WHAT IS YOUR PREFERENCE ON THAT? “I am sure everybody already knows but I am a very outspoken, loud person. The short answer is that I want as little information as possible to make it work. Typically, I won’t say anything on the radio throughout an entire fuel run if that is what it comes down to, until they need to know adjustments for a pit stop. I will have a pretty good idea of who we are racing for the points situation and if we are in front of behind them and we will get updates through the day to figure out if we have green flag stops if that will shake things up. Other than that, we are coming out here to run a race, we have to know who we are around at that immediate time, make sure we are clear and make sure we are moving forward.”

WHAT HAVE THE LAST FEW WEEKS BEEN LIKE? “It has kind of been like the last few weeks last year racing for the XFINITY championship. It has been a lot busier than normal and talking a lot about the same thing every week. Trying to figure out the ideal scenarios so that we can race into the Chase and then move through the Chase. As much as we want to sit down and plan it all out, there are 39 other drivers out there on track that have different plans and can alter ours in a hurry. There is a lot of anticipation leading up to this weekend through the last several weeks. I am glad we came out of Darlington with a good finish there and happy the car was, for the most part, clean. Then we look at Michigan and our troubles there, it was a depressing day. That works on you emotionally know that could have been a day to put that cushion between the drivers racing for that top-30 place in points. We weren’t able to capitalize and things happen. At the end of the day there is a plan that we have and it just wasn’t meant to be. That is out of our control. There are freak accidents and we looked at that scenario and it was a 1-in-100,000 opportunity and of course it found us. What can you do? We keep our heads down, focus as much as we can on tomorrow night’s race. I love racing under the lights and I am excited about the race here at Richmond. It isn’t my best track but we have been getting better every time we come here. I am pretty confident we are in a good spot right now.”

YOUR 11 POINT CUSHION IS ON DAVID RAGAN. HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO HIM ON THE TRACK TOMORROW NIGHT AND RACE HIM TO STAY AHEAD? “The ARCA championship back in 2012 was a day where we were racing with Frank Kimmel the last race of the season and we knew if we could see him we were fine. That is going to be a similar situation tomorrow night. If we can see the 23 car and we can see David then for the most part we will know we are okay. We need to be on the same lap obviously or preferably a lap ahead of possible but if we are in distance to where we can be around him and racing him then that is not 11 spots. That is what we will focus on. We have to be careful. There are guys like Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman that will be racing extremely aggressive trying to get into this thing. We have to be careful around certain drivers. We are going out there to race though. When I talk about unnecessary risk, David Ragin isn’t one that we need to sit there and knock the doors off each other, knowing we can be a couple spots behind him and still be safe.”


About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.