Chris Buescher Claims XFINITY Series Championship in Homestead
November 23, 2015HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2015) – Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher captured the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Buescher earned an 11th-place finish in the Ford EcoBoost 300 in the No. 60 Fastenal Ford Mustang, closing the season with a 15 point lead over second-place Chase Elliott.
“This is the biggest moment in my career,” said Buescher. “It’s just an awesome year for our organization, for our team. The guys did a tremendous job – no DNFs all year, no mechanical failures, nothing that we beat ourselves on. We were flawless in that regard and it put us in the position to go out and win this thing like we did today. We didn’t have to go out and win the race in order to bring the championship home. We had to make sure we finished and did just that. I’m just so proud of the guys. Thank you to Ford and all of our sponsors, Fastenal and Roush and AdvoCare and everyone that came on board and helped this year. I think we ran 11 different paint schemes to make it to the end. I’m so happy we were able to pull it off and, again, so proud of my team. They really stepped up to the occasion and made sure this happened.”
Buescher earned an 11th-place staring spot after the third round of the three-round qualifying session was cancelled due to rain. Early on, Buescher held his position inside the top-10, anticipating a competition caution on Lap 25.
As the scheduled caution flag flew, crew chief Scott Graves called Buescher down pit road on Lap 27 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help loosen his Mustang in the center.
Buescher lined up 10th for the Lap 30 restart, and quickly jumped up to eighth. As the long green flag run progressed, Buescher's Fastenal Mustang was again too tight, losing one lap to the leaders. Graves opted for a wedge adjustment, along with four tires and fuel during a green flag pit stop on Lap 78.
As green flag pit stops finished cycling through, the Prosper, Texas native again found himself in the top-10. With another round of green flag pit stops approaching during the long caution-free run, Buescher informed the team that his Mustang was a little better, but was still tight through the center.
A caution on Lap 116 negated the need for green flag pit stops. Buescher’s team bolted on four fresh Goodyear tires, added Sunoco fuel and made a track bar adjustment. After gaining two positions on pit road, Buescher lined up ninth for the Lap 122 restart.
The No. 60 Mustang remained in ninth when the caution was displayed again for rain sprinkles on Lap 140. Graves took the opportunity to bring Buescher down pit road again for four tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment.
Buescher lined up 11th for the restart, fighting to get in position for the free pass to get back on the lead lap. The team was able to take advantage of the free pass with a Lap 172 caution. With Buescher required to start at the tail end of the longest line after receiving the free pass, Graves opted to bring Buescher down pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
After restarting 11th on Lap 179, Buescher was able to maintain that position for the remainder of the race, crossing the finish line in 11th as the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver champion.
Buescher earns the championship trophy on the strength of two wins, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. The second-year XFINITY Series driver did not have any DNFs (Did Not Finish), and never finished outside of the top-20 through the 33-race season.
After a win at Iowa Speedway, Buescher took over the lead in the driver championship standings, and never looked back, leading the standings for 24-consecutive weeks.
The championship is not the first in Buescher’s young career. In 2012, in just his second fulltime season in the ARCA Racing Series with the Roulo Brothers, Buescher won an impressive four races to earn the championship. In that championship season, Buescher earned 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. He did not finish lower than 18th in any race, and completed every single lap of the 2012 ARCA Racing Series season.
It is the fifth championship for Roush Fenway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Prior to this season, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. was the most recent champion for the organization, earning back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012. Former Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards won the championship in 2007, while Greg Biffle hoisted the championship trophy in 2002. Edwards and Biffle both earned XFINITY championships driving the historic No. 60.